Indonesia, Japan sign deal on US$4 billion railway project

by BERNAMA/ pic by AFP

Indonesia and Japan on Tuesday signed an outline deal for a medium-speed train project linking the Southeast Asian country’s capital of Jakarta and its second-largest city, Surabaya, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

After two years of negotiations, the two countries agreed to use a narrow instead of standard gauge on the railway track to better adapt to land characteristics in dense and multi-networked areas on the island of Java.

Under the agreement, the project will be split into two phases, with the first between Jakarta and the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang and the second between Semarang and Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, stretching 436 km and 284 km, respectively.

Both Indonesian and Japanese officials have said the initial investment value of the project was estimated at 60 trillion rupiah (about US$4.2 billion).

In an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News several months ago, President Joko Widodo said he expected construction of the railway to start next year.

Indonesia’s Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology has predicted that 12.4 per cent of airline passengers between the two cities, about eight million last year, will shift to the trains.