Indonesian SOE Minister, Rini Sumarno and related ranks when watching the moments of Tunnel Walini's penetration which was packaged in the event entitled "Tunnel Walini Breakthrough" in Bandung, West Java, Tuesday (05/14) - Photo by TheInsiderStories.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian government is targeting high-speed train (HST) Jakarta-Bandung operated by PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC) is scheduled to operate in 2021 after years of delay.

President Director of KCIC, Chandra Dwi Putra said the construction work will be boosted in the 2019 semester by increasing the labor force and more massive mobilization of tools. He noted construction in the first semester cannot be driven due to weather and general elections.

“The 59 percent progress of all structural works, including tunnel 4 in Purwakarta and Walini Tunnel, is targeted to be completed this year,” he said in Bandung, West Java, on Tuesday (05/14).

Overall, there are 13 tunnels built on the 142-kilometer railroad track. Today, KCIC managed to penetrate the tunnel at Walini for 608 meters. This tunnel has a width of 12.6 meters in diameter and an outside diameter of 14.3 meters.

Putra said, it also began testing trials for tunnel boring machine (TBM) equipment installed under the Jakarta – Cikampek toll road project. The drill imported from China is scheduled to operate in June 2019.

Later, TBM will work intensively for 24 hours without stopping. At the highest speed, this drilling machine has cutting knives specifically designed from hard metal and can punch eight meters of soil per day.

He adds the construction of the fast train is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020 so that it can operate in April 2021. The operation of the fast train will cut the travel time of Jakarta-Bandung from 3 hours to 45 minutes. This project will also be the first fast train in Southeast Asia.

China and Indonesia signed an agreement in October 2015 to establish a joint venture to build and operate the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. The line’s groundbreaking ceremony was held in January 2016. However, construction was postponed due to issues ranging from funding to land acquisition.

The key reason for the delay is not at all surprising: the government blames slow progress in the land clearance process, incomplete talks related to the financing scheme as well as the extension of the line, which is now designed to reach Kertajati Airport in West Java.

China Development Bank (CDB) has disbursed US$170 million worth of loan to the developer KCIC, which is the first stage of the total loan $4.5 billion to help fund development of HST Jakarta-Bandung.

KCIC, which is backed by a consortium consisting of Indonesian and Chinese companies, has developed the first stage of the HSR since 2016. The entire 142-kilometer long fast train project is estimated to cost about $5.9 billion, of which $4.5 billion is expected to come from a loan from CDB.

China Railway, the world’s largest railway operator, said that the trains will have a maximum design speed of 350 kilometers per hour on the four-stop rail line, and travel time between Jakarta and Bandung is expected to be cut from more than three hours on the current line to about 40 minutes on the high-speed rail line.

The HST Jakarta-Bandung will connect four stations: Halim Perdana Kusuma in Greater Jakarta area; Karawang, West Java; Walini (in Bandung, West Java) and Tegal Luar, also in West Java.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com

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