‘A more realistic mode of transportation for the average person’
Indonesia has reportedly dumped plans for its first high-speed railway in favour of a slightly slower but much cheaper conventional rail option.
[Indonesia drops high-speed train project, eyes slower link, The Japan Times, 4 Sep 2015]
[Indonesia’s] Coordinating Minister for the Economy Darmin Nasution told reporters after a five-hour meeting about the project with other ministers that the president decided a high-speed service was not needed on the proposed line connecting Jakarta and the West Java provincial capital of Bandung.
Nasution said the 150 km distance is relatively short for a rail link and insufficient for a high-speed train to sustain an envisaged top speed of 300 kph. He added that a slower service would be significantly cheaper.
“Although the speed could be 300 kph, the train would not be able to reach the maximum speed, because before it reaches the speed, the brake has to be put on,” Nasution said.
“So we only need a train with the speed between 200 kph and 250 kph,” he said. “Therefore the president decided we do not need a high-speed railway link. A medium-speed railway is enough.”
Britain’s HS2 Ltd has claimed that a conventional speed railway would be only about 10% cheaper than a high speed one, but has never published evidence to support the assertion. As with Indonesia, very high speed lines like HS2 are unsuited to English and Scottish economic geography.
[Indonesia dumps plans for high-speed rail line, Channel NewsAsia, 4 Sep 2015]
President Joko Widodo was expected to announce the winning bid for the multi-billion dollar infrastructure project this week, but instead his chief economics minister, Darmin Nasution, told the Japanese ambassador on Friday (Sep 4) that the hotly contested project had been shelved.
[…] Widodo had commissioned an independent review into the high-speed rail line, which if completed would not only have slashed travel time between Jakarta and Bandung but paved the way for an expanded network linking the capital with Indonesia’s second-largest city Surabaya in East Java.
Presidential chief of staff Teten Masduki told AFP that Widodo had concluded a medium-speed rail option was better value, saving 30 per cent on costs. “The president was very careful in deciding this, and has picked this one,” he told AFP, referring to the slower, cheaper rail alternative.
Indonesia’s government turned down a Japanese proposal for a USD 6.3 billion line that was to run from Jakarta to Bandung in 45 minutes, making stops at Jakarta, Bekasi, Karawang, the to-be-built Karawang Airport, just two days after it was announced. Instead of uneconomic high speed rail, the government wants to remove gaps and deficiencies in the classic network so that rail will become ‘a more realistic mode of transportation for the average person’, according to Oxford Business Group.
[Low speed ahead: Alternatives are proposed as costly high-speed rail appears stalled, Oxford Business Group, undated]
The government noted that high-speed rail usually costs much more than estimated and only makes sense when it connects major centres of finance and trade (only Tokyo-Osaka and Paris-Lyon are said to break even).
[…] According to the World Bank, Indonesia already has a total of 5040 km of line – 3700 of which is on Java. But the network has many deficiencies that the government hopes to address. It is incomplete, especially within the cities, so lines will be developed to remove gaps and rail will become a more realistic mode of transportation for the average person.