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jjb1970

Indonesian Railways

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Just spent a couple of weeks in Indonesia for a family holiday (if I was a cynical man, which I'm not, I might say my real holiday starts now as my wife and kiddies are staying over there until the end of the school holidays) and I got to spend some time using the trains, mainly around the Jakarta commuter system but a couple of longer distance inter-city trains. Indonesia is one of those countries which tends to slip below most people's radars over here yet it is a fascinating country and although its railway system is not equivalent to that of Japan or China or some of the other Asian countries with very highly developed systems it is nevertheless a lot better than most might imagine.

 

The Jakarta commuter network is not extensive in the way of the TfL system but it is expanding, trains are kept clean, punctuality/reliability seems good and service levels good. The stations are kept clean and in good order and nowadays the tracks are fenced off and there is no wandering around the track. Looking at the track it seems to be laid and maintained to a good standard, good clean looking ballast for the most part. The Jakarta system is electrified at 1500V DC, rolling stock is basically the standard Japanese type high density suburban train with longitudinal bench seating and four double doors per car (I believe they have bought a lot of their stock S/H from Japan as they share the 3'6" gauge. The Jakarta system is closer to TfL under ground than national rail, load factors are high off peak and during the rush hour it is not far short of Japanese levels of crush loading and makes our peak services look quite lightly loaded. There are women only coaches (and that rule seems to be strictly observed), they handle folding bikes better than most of our TOCs as they specify the dimensions a bike has to meet when folded to stop those full size bikes that have a single pivot so are folding bikes but folding bikes which take up pretty much as much space as a normal bike.

 

There is a lot of new construction in Jakarta, much of it being elevated, something very popular in Asia which is rare here. I can see the attraction of those high elevated railways as it must be a lot cheaper than tunnelling but it does cast a long shadow along streets and makes the transport corridors (much of the highway and bus way system is also elevated) feel very dingy at ground level.

 

The inter-city trains are better than you might expect, OK they're not as nicely fitted out as UK long distance trains but they seem to be kept clean and in good order and are comfortable enough. Speeds are not that impressive though and journey times can be long for the distances involved but for bashers they're locomotive hauled using diesel power. Many of the diesels appear to be GE products, some looking very much like shrunken U Boats. One of their biggest problems is that Indonesia has a thriving low cost air system and it can be cheaper as well as being a lot faster to fly. Garuda Indonesia (the national flag carrier) established a low cost division, Citilink, and there is a whole host of other carriers competing.

 

When I first started going to Indonesia in the mid-late 90's the rail system wasn't impressive, the tracks were almost like pedestrian through fares, the trains and stations were rather shabby and local people would warn you not to use the Jakarta commuter trains as they were unsafe with robbers and such like. Now while I wouldn't claim it is the best system in the world it is a good, clean, well run system which has a very positive feel about it. Staff are all very well presented in spotless uniforms and seem to have a real pride in what they do (it does feel very much like Japan in that respect) and there seems to be a real sense of momentum and a system on the up. The story for Garuda Indonesia is similar, we flew with GA and the service was excellent in every way, immaculate aircraft and quite frankly puts most of the European "flag carriers" to shame (they're a Skytrax 5* airline).

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Garuda was one of the airlines on my company's "do not use" list, along with some Chinese internal airlines and a few from the former Soviet Union, so I trust they have improved.

 

I've only been to Indonesia once and that was only a couple of days in Jakarta on business with no time to explore. What I did see was some weird bus system where passengers boarded the bus from a high platform and the bus was like a double decker with no lower deck. (Had similar vehicles for inter-terminal connections at Washington-Dulles airport I recall). That was some ten years ago so is that Jakarta system still operational?

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You might like to check out this old beast, built in the Netherlands and restored to service from m derelict condition.

 

Its Indonesian nickname is 'Bonbon' and it occasionally works specials.

 

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gUe6I7DllU8

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This is a venerable beast, there are preserved steam locos that aren't as old. I've found it in my book of Werkspoor locos. Werkspoor factory numbers 547-548 (two were built) and they went into service in 1925. The Dutch influence - OK, rule - meant they were 1500v DC like Netherlands Railways. I presume that is still the case.

 

My book says that Heemaf, the electrical contractor, built a short line from their factory to the local power station to test the locos before delivery

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Garuda was one of the airlines on my company's "do not use" list, along with some Chinese internal airlines and a few from the former Soviet Union, so I trust they have improved.

 

I've only been to Indonesia once and that was only a couple of days in Jakarta on business with no time to explore. What I did see was some weird bus system where passengers boarded the bus from a high platform and the bus was like a double decker with no lower deck. (Had similar vehicles for inter-terminal connections at Washington-Dulles airport I recall). That was some ten years ago so is that Jakarta system still operational?

 

Garuda have improved beyond all recognition. They went through a very bad patch but now they have a modern fleet, flight service is first class and their is a feeling of a carrier on the up. They're rated 5* by Skytrax which is quite an achievement for them. We've used their low cost operator Citilink to fly internally a few times and despite being an LCC they're in a different league to Ryanair and Easyjet.

 

The Jakarta busway is still in use, in fact it seems to be expanding and there are dedicated elevated busway routes. Initially I think it was a low cost alternative to a metro railway but now they're investing a lot of money in developing a Jakarta metro railway. They're also developing a new high speed rail link between Jakarta and Bandung.

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4 hours ago, jhb171achil said:

Are there any Indonesian models? A B50 class 2.4.0 would be of great interest to me....

 

Yup, but static. Many people motorize them and use them. I wanted to make a few kits but failed at sourcing scale drawings. So I continued with Indian Railway and Sri Lankan Railway stuff.

 

If anyone has leads on scale drawings for Indonesian Railways locos and rolling stock I'd happily design kits.

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8 hours ago, jhb171achil said:

I have set of original drawings for B50s. Bulky, but could send possibly.

 

I'd love them....

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