Indonesia has started construction of South East Asia’s first high-speed rail link between Jakarta and the West Java provincial capital of Bandung.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the $5.5bn project was carried out by president Joko Widodo in Cikalong Wetan, West Java, which will be the location of one of the eight stations on the line.

"Construction of the project is expected to end in 2018, with the line scheduled to begin operations in 2019."

A joint venture between an Indonesian consortium and China Railway International, PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China is building the 142.3km high-speed rail line.

Construction of the project is expected to end in 2018, with the line scheduled to begin operations in 2019.

Following completion, the high-speed train system designed to run at 250km/h will be integrated at both ends with the Mass Rapid Transit in Jakarta and the Light Rail Transit system in Bandung.

A train ride from Jakarta to Bandung currently takes about three hours and the high-speed rail would reduce the journey time to 35 minutes.

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Last September, China secured the contract over Japan as it offered to build the high-speed line without investments from the Indonesian Government.

The Jakarta-Bandung line is part of a 750km high-speed train network that would cut across four provinces on the main island of Java and end in Surabaya.