Indonesia launches Jakarta-Bandung ‘Whoosh’ high-speed railway
Jakarta, Indonesianpost.com – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday inaugurated a $7.3 billion high-speed railway connecting Jakarta with the city of Bandung, a China-backed project that has been marred with problems.
The 142-kilometer (88.23-mile) railway, one of President Jokowi’s flagship infrastructure projects and part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative has faced problems ranging from land procurement issues, pandemic-related delays and ballooning costs.
Monday’s launch for the bullet train named “Whoosh” is far behind the original target of operations in 2019.
“The name is inspired by the sound of a rushing high-speed train,” Jokow said during the launch.
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The maximum operating speed of the train could reach 350 kilometers per hour (217 mph), Jokowi said, calling this “the modernization of our mass transportation that is environmentally friendly”.
Luhut Pandjaitan, a senior minister overseeing the project, said at the launch that free trial rides on the bullet train, which have been underway since the second week of September, will be extended and ticket prices will be implemented in mid-October.
A consortium of Indonesian and Chinese companies built the railway.
Authorities have been running public trials of the new high-speed journey of 142 kilometers (90 miles) before its opening.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang rode the train with Luhut last month on his visit to Jakarta for a series of summits with Southeast Asian leaders.
Luhut told reporters on Thursday that Jokowi plans to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping in the future to ride the train, without providing further details.