Rail Services (KAI)

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  • Jalan Perintis Kemerdekaan No. 1 Bandung 40117
  • cs@kai.id
  • +62 022-4230031

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Railways on Java

The first railways in Indonesia were built on the island of Java, using 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) gauge. During the Japanese occupation, they were converted to 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge. At its greatest extent, the Javanese network had a length of 4,807 kilometers (2,987 mi), connecting most parts of the island. The Javanese network train (in Java Island) is divided into nine operating divisions (Train operation area or DAOP).

Railways on Sumatra

Medan railway station, serving intercity trains as well as Railink airport train service to Kuala Namu Airport

In Sumatra as of 2013, there are 1,869 kilometers of track, of which 1,348 km are operational. Several unconnected railway networks were built in the time of the Dutch East Indies:

  • Banda Aceh-Lhokseumawe-Besitang-Medan-Tebingtinggi-Pematang Siantar-Rantau Prapat in northern Sumatra (the Banda Aceh-Besitang section was closed in 1971, but is being rebuilt, as of 2011)
  • Padang-Solok-Bukit tinggi in West Sumatra
  • Bandar Lampung-Palembang-Lahat-Lubuk Linggau in southern Sumatra.

Plans to connect up and fix these isolated lines are included in the Trans-Sumatra Railway plan. Railway services in Sumatra by operational is divided into three regional divisions, which are:

Railways on Kalimantan

In 2010, plans were announced for Kalimantan to get a 122 km long 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge railway for the transport of coal between the Muara Wahau [id] mine and the port of Bengalon. In January 2016, Russian Railways reported that its construction of a railway in Kalimantan will finish in 2019.

Railways on Bali

In 2019 it was reported in Gapura Bali that Wayan Koster, governor of Bali, “is keen to improve Bali’s transportation infrastructure and is considering plans to build an electric rail network across the island”.

Railways on Sulawesi

The Trans-Sulawesi Railway is under construction, and will be built with 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge which is wider than the 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) cape gauge used in Java and Sumatra to accommodate more weight and speed.

Railways in Papua

A 440km railway from Manokwari to Sorong in Papua is planned.

Passanger Services

Other than in West Sumatra, where only weekly tourist trains operate, PT Kereta Api Indonesia (Persero) provides extensive passenger services. Various classes are available, from “‘Argo'” class with reclining seats and plane – like facilities, executive class with air conditioner and reclining seat comparable to the better classes of other countries’ railways, business coaches which recently have been equipped with air conditioner and reclining seats much like executive class, to the hard bench, but still air conditioned economy class coaches for cheaper trains. In last couple of years, the business and economic class are in the process of being equipped with air conditioned system. The whole process was completed in early 2013.

Sleeper trains have existed in Indonesia. The last all-sleeper train service was Bima express train which ran from 1967 to 1984 when it was changed to mostly coach, leaving only one or two sleeping cars. It ran in this configuration until 1995, when the sleeper cars were withdrawn and modified into seating coach. Since 2018, sleeper trains have been re-activated for the Argo Bromo Anggrek service from Jakarta to Surabaya.

Argo Bromo Anggrek Executive coach

In Java, most trains connect Jakarta and the hinterland – regional (or “cross-country” services) have not been fully developed. Between pairs of important cities such as Jakarta and Bandung, intensive hourly services are provided.

Most passenger trains in Indonesia, except commuter locals, are named. The names varies from plainly descriptive such as Depok Ekspress (a fast service between Jakarta and Depok), through Logawa (name of a river near Purwokerto, which is served by the train), Argo Lawu (Mt. Lawu, an extinct volcano near Solo, which is served by the said express train), to more or less meaningless, though romantic, names such as Bangunkarta (abbreviation of names of cities it serves: Jombang-Madiun-Jakarta) and Matarmaja (Malang-Blitar-Madiun-Jakarta).

Gumarang Business coach

Railway passenger services experienced a renaissance in the 1995-1999 period, with the introduction of many new passenger express services. With the advent of cheap airplane tickets, PT Kereta Api has experienced a downturn in the number of passengers carried, though the number has stabilized and most trains remain at more than 50% occupancy rate.

Women only carriages

As a response to many reports of sexual harassment in public places, including commuter trains and buses, PT Kereta Api launched women-only carriages in some commuter trains in Jakarta metropolitan area in August 2010. On May 13, 2013 PT KAI changed women-only trains to regular trains which at the front and back of the train has a coach for women only. This rule apply in KRL Jabodetabek.

Priority seat

PT KAI designates priority seats to elderly passengers, pregnant women, disabled passengers and mother with infant to ride public transport with an equal degree of access and comfort as other people. This apply in KRL Jabodetabek. Priority seat not only in the first and end of the train like in women only carriages, but eight seats in each carriage are designated as priority seats.

Priority Class (Sleeper Train)

PT KAI relaunched the Sleeper Train service in June 11, 2018. This sleeper train is equipped with excellent facilities even in the same class as a first class aircraft cabin. The first route for Sleeper Train is from Gambir Jakarta to Surabaya. The operational of the Luxury Sleeper Train will be taken over by PT KA Tourism.

Freight services

The railway system in Java is more or less a passenger-oriented system, and there are few freight services, due to the limited capacity of the tracks. Some notable freight service in Java include the Kalimas container train and the Parcel train between Jakarta and Surabaya, petroleum trains between refineries or oil pipe terminals and oil depots, and quartz sand trains in Central Java.

But in recent years, there has been many efforts to increase freight traffic in Java by introducing the GE CC206 locomotives, as well as building double track lines that connect Jakarta and Surabaya on North Coast line to increase the number of container trains between both cities. Many container ports have also been built on intermediate cities and towns. This effort already attract some customers who normally shipped their products via roads.

The system in South Sumatra is rather freight-oriented. Coal unit trains, carrying coal for an electricity plant are given priority over passenger trains. In West Sumatra, the remaining railway line serves the cement plant at Indarung, near Padang, and in North Sumatra, several oil palm and rubber plantations are served by freight trains.

Urban rail and rail-based rapid transit – Greater Jakarta

A Commuter Line electric train takes curve on the elevated railway near Mangga Dua, Central Jakarta.

KRL Commuterline Jabodetabek is one of operational urban rail network in Indonesia, serving commuter routes in Greater Jakarta which comprises cities of DKI Jakarta, Depok, Bogor, Bekasi, Tangerang, and South Tangerang as well as regencies of Bogor, Bekasi, and Lebak. The other operational urban rail network are Jakarta MRT, Jakarta LRT, and an airport rail link to support the public transport network in the area.

Greater Surabaya

Regional rail functions as commuter rail in Surabaya, so technically there is no urban rail network. However, there are plans for a mass rapid transit network in and around Surabaya. A 32 km diesel line from Mojokerto to Sidoarjo has been put into service, with 6 daily return trips.


Palembang Light Rail Transit had operate in June 2018, before the 2018 Asian Games.


Medan has Kualanamu Airport Rail Link transport which linking Kualanamu International Airport to Medan station and vice versa.

High-speed Rails

In recent decades, Javan transportation backbones — north coast road and railway system that serves Jakarta-Surabaya corridor, has suffered greatly from both freight and passenger congestion. The plan to build a high-speed railway system in Java has been around for many years. However, it was not until 2008 that the idea had been contemplated seriously. It was Japan International Cooperation Agency’s proposal that initiated the idea to build high-speed rail for the Indonesian island of Java, linking up the densely populated corridor from the capital Jakarta to Surabaya city (covering 730 km) in East Java.Japan is eager to export their Shinkansen high-speed rail technology abroad. Following up JICA’s initial study in 2012, the detailed feasibility study was concluded in 2014. In recent years, Indonesia has been undergoing a revival in railway expansion and upgrades. The high-speed rail corridors have been proposed but not implemented yet, since it was deemed too costly.

In April 2015, China had entered the race with a counter-offer to build the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail in Indonesia. A bid which alarmed Japan that has been nurtured the idea for years.

In July 2015, the Indonesian government announced their plan to build the high-speed rail system connecting Jakarta and Bandung, and devised a competition between Japan and China train-makers as potential bidders. Japan and China had expressed their interest in the project; both countries have done comprehensive studies of the project.

In late September 2015, Indonesia awards this multibillion-dollar railway project to China over Japan.

The proposed high-speed rail will connect the nation’s capital Jakarta with Bandung city in neighboring West Java province, covering a distance of 150 kilometers, and is also expected to expand further, connecting to Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya in East Java. The project is scheduled to commence in late 2015, and is expected to open its operations to public by 2019.

In December 2015 discussion for the Jakarta-Surabaya high-speed rail was commenced by the Indonesian Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Resources. Academicians from two major universities in Indonesia, and employees from Japan International Cooperation Agency, were invited to attend the discussion.