Palembang light rail transit (LRT) project is the first light rail system in Indonesia. Credit: Gunawan Kartapranata.
The light rail system started operations in August 2018. Credit: Juxlos.
PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PT KAI) owns and operates the Palembang light rail system. Credit: Juxlos.

The Palembang Light Rail Transit (LRT) being developed in Palembang, the provincial capital of South Sumatra, Indonesia, is the first ever light rail system to be developed in the country.

Also referred to as the South Sumatra LRT Project, the new light rail system started its operations in August 2018.

The project is fully owned and operated by state-owned transportation firm PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PT KAI).

The new LRT system was opened in time to meet the transportation requirements of the international players and sports enthusiasts attending the 18th Asian games held in Indonesia in August 2018.

It is also expected to reduce traffic congestion and offer a comfortable travel experience to people in the region.

Palembang Light Rail Transit project details

The Palembang LRT system has a length of 23.4km and connects the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II (SMB II) International Airport with Jakabaring Sports Complex.

It acts as a direct link between the airport and the sports complex and reduces travelling time between the two locations by between 30 and 45 minutes.

Construction of the LRT system started in October 2015. It includes 13 railway stations and supporting facilities such as nine electrical substations and a depot.

The new stations include SMB II airport, Station Asrama Haji, Station Telkom, Station RSUD, Station Polda, Station Demang, Station Palembang Icon, Station Dishub, Station Cinde, Station Ampera, Station Gubernur Bastari, Station Jakabaring and Station Ogan Permata Indah.

Six stations were in operation by August 2018, while the remaining seven stations are expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2018.

“Each LRV operating on the Palembang LRT is 12m-long, 2.6m-wide and 3.6m-high, can accommodate a maximum of 534 passengers and operate for 18 hours a day.”

The elevated rail track has a gauge width of 1,067mm and uses a third rail to power the train sets. The rail network uses advanced ballast-less slab track technology and a fixed block signalling system.

A series of dynamic tests on the infrastructure and facilities of the LRT system were conducted by the transport authorities in June 2018.

Rolling stock for Palembang Light Rail Transit system

Rolling stock deployed on the light rail project is supplied by PT Industri Kereta Api (PT Inka), a state-owned company. The LRT system is currently served by eight light rail vehicles (LRVs).

Two LRT train sets with three carriages each were delivered in April 2018, while six train sets were delivered in June 2018. Trial runs were conducted on the trains in mid-2018.

Each LRV operating on the Palembang LRT is 12m-long, 2.6m-wide and 3.6m-high, can accommodate a maximum of 534 passengers and operate for 18 hours a day. The vehicles can travel at a maximum speed of 80km/h.

The light rail vehicles receive 750V DC electricity from the third rail system to allow them to continue operations without any interruption.

Financing for the light rail system

The project is being developed with an estimated investment of IDR10.9tn ($755m), which is solely funded by the state government of South Sumatra.

Contractors involved with Palembang Light Rail Transit project

The Ministry of Transportation selected the state-owned enterprise PT Waskita Karya as the major contractor for the construction of the Palembang LRT project in October 2015. PT KAI was selected as the operator of the light rail project.

PT Len Industri was contracted by PT Waskita Karya to supply signalling systems and electronic ticket dispensing machines, as well as set up a telecommunication network and electricity infrastructure for the LRT system in November 2016.