Indonesian Railways

Indonesian Railway LLC also known as PT KA (Persero) or PT KAI (PT Kereta Api Indonesia), is the state railway operator in Indonesia. It is the sole operator of public railways in the country. The railway lines cover most of Java and parts of Sumatra. PT Kereta Api (Persero) is the last in the long line of successive state railway companies dating from Dutch colonial days.

The first railway line in Indonesia began operations in August 10, 1867 in Central Java. By May 21, 1873, the line had connected three main cities in the region, i.e. Semarang, Solo and Yogyakarta. This line was operated by a private company, Nederlandsch-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (NIS: Netherlands East Indies Railway Company).

The liberal Dutch government of the era was then reluctant of building its own railway, preferring to give a free rein to private enterprises. However, private railways could not provide the expected return of investment (even NIS required some financial assistance from the government), and the Dutch Ministry of Colonies finally approved a state railway system, the Staatsspoorwegen (State Railway), extending from Buitenzorg (now Bogor) in the west, to Surabaya in the east. Construction began from both ends, the first line (from Surabaya) being opened on May 16, 1878, and both cities were connected by 1894.

Private enterprises did not completely get out of the picture, and at least 15 light railway companies operated in Java. These companies operated as stoomtrammaatschappijen (steam tram companies), but despite the name, were better described as regional secondary lines. These lines, other than the 300 plus km long Semarang-Cheribon Stoomtram (Semarang-Cirebon Steam Tram Company), are mostly disused by the present day.

As befits a colonial enterprise, most railway lines in Indonesia had a dual purpose: economic and strategic. In fact, a condition for the financial assistance for the NIS was that the company build a railway line to Ambarawa, which had an important fort named Willem I for the Dutch king. The first state railway line was built through the mountains on the southern part of Java, instead of the flat regions on the north, for a similar strategic reason.

In Sumatra, railways were first used for military purposes, with a railway line connecting Banda Aceh and its port of Uleelhee in 1876. The line, first built to a 1067 mm gauge was later regauged to 750 mm and extended south. This line was only transferred to the Ministry of Colonies from the Ministry of War in January 1, 1916, following the relative pacification of Aceh. At present, this line is disused, although following the tsunami disaster of 2004, France expressed interest in rebuilding this line.

Other state railway lines in Sumatra were located in the Minangkabau area (built between 1891-1894) and the Lampung-South Sumatra region (1914-1932). Both lines were mainly used for conveyance of coal from inland mines to ports.

Another important private railway line was the Deli Spoorweg Maatschappij (Deli Railway Company). This line served the important rubber- and tobacco-producing regions in Deli.

Between July 1922 and 1930, a 47 km-long railway line operated in South Sulawesi. This line was to be extended to North Sulawesi, as part of a massive project of railway construction in Borneo and Sulawesi, connection of separate railway systems in Sumatra and electrification of the main lines in Java. The Great Depression of 1929 put paid to these plans.

During the Japanese occupation between 1942 and 1945, the different railway lines in Java were managed as one entity. The Sumatra systems, being under the administration of a different branch of the Japanese armed forces, remained separate.

The occupiers also converted the standard gauge (1435 mm) lines in Java into 1067 mm, thereby resolving the dual gauge issue. This was not an actual "problem" as there was not much transfer of materials between the systems, and much of the 1435 mm system had been fitted with a third rail by 1940, creating a mixed-gauge railway.

During the war for independence between 1945 and 1949, freedom fighters took over the railways, creating the first direct predecessor to today's PT Kereta Api, the Djawatan Kereta Api Repoeblik Indonesia (Railway Bureau of the Republic of Indonesia, on September 28, 1945. In Sumatra, the separate systems were similarly taken over, named Kereta Api Soematera Oetara Negara Repoeblik Indonesia in North Sumatra and Kereta Api Negara Repoeblik Indonesia in South and West Sumatra.

On the other hand, the Dutch created its own combined railway system to manage the lines located on its occupied territory, the Verenigd Spoorwegbedrijf (Combined Railways). By the time of Dutch recognition of Indonesian independence, the VS had most railway lines under its management, though not all were in operation.

With Indonesia's full independence in 1949, the separate systems (except the Deli Railway) were combined into the Djawatan Kereta Api. Non-state railway systems in Java retained their paper existence until 1958, when all railway lines in Indonesia were nationalized, including the Deli Railway, thereby creating the Perusahaan Negara Kereta Api (State Railway Company).

This corporation was to undergo several more transformations into PJKA (Perusahaan Jawatan Kereta Api), Perumka (Perusahaan Umum Kereta Api) and finally PT Kereta Api (Persero) on June 1, 1999.

The headquarters of the state railway system, since Dutch colonial days, had been located in Bandung, West Java.

The total number of trackage laid in Indonesia was 7583 km, although not all lines were in operation at the same time. In 1939, the total operational trackage was 4588 km (It is unclear whether dual gauge tracks were counted once or twice). The present extent of the railways is now 5042 km, with the Aceh system, most of the West Sumatra system and most former steam tram lines disused, but including new tracks built alongside old tracks (double tracking projects).

There was no major construction of new railways in the independence era. However, much double tracking has taken place, and is still ongoing. The most significant projects in the near future include the construction of a railway line to the Sukarno-Hatta International Airport, double tracking of the southern main line in Java, double (and quadruple) tracking of Jakarta commuter lines and the reconstruction of the Aceh railway (with assistance from the French railway company.

The double-tracking of all main lines in Java is planned to be completed in 2025.

Future expansion plans of the railway will include linking of existing railway lines in Sumatra from Aceh to Lampung via both west and east coasts of the island. Railway lines are also planned to be built on the currently railwayless islands of Kalimantan[1] and Sulawesi[2].

All locomotives of the PT Kereta Api (with the exception of steam locomotives for tourist trains in Ambarawa) are diesel-engined. Most new locomotives use electric transmission, while older and lighter ones have hydraulic transmission. A total of 451 locomotives are in the books, but the actual number of operational locomotives is smaller. A 2004 source mentions 374 operational locomotives. The oldest locomotive in the system dates from 1953.

The numbering scheme of locomotives dated from the Japanese occupation, using a combination of letters and numbers. A letter or a combination of letters is used to denote the wheel arrangement (currently there are C, D, BB and CC types), and a three-digit number is used to denote the class (20x for classes with electric transmission and 30x for classes with hydraulic or mechanical transmission), starting from 0. A two- or three-digit number shows the individual number, starting from 01.

• D30170: the 70th member of the second class of D type diesel-hydraulic locomotive
• CC20313: the 13th member of the fourth class of diesel electric locomotives with Co-Co wheel arrangement

The steam locomotive classification was directly derived from Japanese practice. Tank locomotives were numbered from the 10's, while tender locomotives from the 50's. Letter combinations were used for articulated locomotives (in the case of Indonesia these were Mallets).

Electric locomotives in Indonesia had always been a minority, and no new electric locomotives had been acquired in the last 70 years. However, electric multiple units have been imported from Japan and elsewhere since 1976. These are operated by the Jabotabek commuter transport division of the PT Kereta Api.

Rolling Stock
As of 2004, PT Kereta Api operates:
• 74 Diesel multiple units
• 253 electric multiple units
• 846 revenue passenger cars
• 65 non-revenue passenger cars (baggage-generator cars and dining cars)
• 3214 freight wagons

PT Kereta Api is a major customer of the local railway equipment industry PT Inka, using passenger coaches, freight wagons and electric multiple units made by the Madiun-based company. However, recently it also bought second-hand Japanese electric multiple units for the Jabotabek commuter service.

In Java, PT Kereta Api has its main diesel shop in Pengok, Yogyakarta for maintenance of both diesel electric and diesel hydraulic locomotives. The separate systems in Sumatra has their shops in Lahat (South Sumatra), Padang (West Sumatra) and Pulubrayan (North Sumatra).

Other maintenance facilities are present in Manggarai (Jakarta), Tegal and Gubeng (Surabaya). These are used to repair coaches and wagons.

A large stabling point for electric rail cars is being constructed in Depok, West Java.

Railway operations in Indonesia is regulated by the Legislation No. 13 of 1992 on Railways. This legislation stated that the government operates railways (arts. 4 and 6), delegates operations to an operating body [then the Perumka, and later PT Kereta Api] (art. 6) and provides and maintains railway infrastructure (art. 8). Private companies are allowed to cooperate in operation of railways (art. 6).

The Indonesian government has recently created the Directorate General of Railways, directly answerable to the Minister of Transportation. This is expected to improve the railway's position vis-a-vis other transportation modes.

The parliament of Indonesia is currently discussing an amendment to the current legislation, which is to allow greater role for private companies and regional governments in providing railway services.

Company Officers (as of 2005)
Board of Commissioners
Executive commissioner:
Sumino Eko Saputro
Omar Berto
Heckinus Manao
Pandu Djajanto
Agus Gurlaya Kartasasmita

Board of Directors
Executive Director:
Ronny Wahyudi
Finances: Achmad Kuntjoro
Engineering: Makbul Sujudi Sumadilaga
Operations: Soedarmo Ramadhan
Human Resources: Amien Abdurachman
Business Development: Julison Arifin
Company Secretary:
Tjutjud Trijoga
Head of Planning and Development Center:
Agus Sasongko Hadi
Head of Internal Supervision Unit:
Djoko Margono

Passenger Services
Other than in West Sumatra, where only weekly tourist trains operate, PT Kereta Api (Persero) provides extensive passenger services. Various classes are available, from executive class air conditioned, reclining seat coaches comparable to the better classes of other country's railways, through non-air conditioned business class coaches having reclining seats, to the hard bench non-air conditioned economy class coaches for the cheaper trains.

Passenger trains run during daytime and evenings. As distances are not too great, no sleeping cars are provided, although non-airconditioned trains generally run in the evenings to alleviate the discomforts.

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

Most passenger trains in Indonesia, except commuter locals were named. The names varied from plainly descriptive such as Depok Ekspres (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).

Railway passenger services experienced a renaissance in the 1995-1999 period, with the introduction of many new passenger expresses. 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.

List of Named Executive and Business Class Passenger Trains in Java
Train Name Route Class of Accommodation Notes
Argo Bromo Anggrek Jakarta Gambir - Surabaya Pasar Turi Executive class Commonly called "Argo Anggrek"
Argo Lawu Jakarta Gambir - Solo Balapan Executive class
Argo Dwipangga Jakarta Gambir - Solo Balapan Executive class
Argo Gede Jakarta Gambir - Bandung Executive class
Argo Muria Jakarta Gambir - Semarang Executive class
Argo Wilis Bandung - Surabaya Gubeng Executive class
Bima Jakarta - Surabaya Gubeng Executive class Via Yogyakarta
Gajayana Jakarta - Malang Executive class
Sembrani Jakarta Gambir - Surabaya Pasar Turi Executive class
Taksaka Jakarta Gambir - Yogyakarta Executive class
Kamandanu Jakarta Gambir - Semarang Executive class
Harina Bandung - Semarang Executive class
Rajawali Surabaya Pasar Turi - Semarang Executive class
Turangga Bandung - Surabaya Gubeng Executive class
Parahyangan Jakarta Gambir - Bandung Executive and business class
Cirebon Ekspres Jakarta Gambir - Cirebon Executive and business class
Gumarang Jakarta Gambir - Surabaya Pasar Turi Executive and business class
Purwojaya Jakarta Gambir - Cilacap Executive and business class
Sawunggalih Jakarta Pasar Senen - Kutoarjo - Purworejo Executive and business class
Bangunkarta Jakarta Pasar Senen - Jombang Executive and business class
Lodaya Bandung - Solo Balapan Executive and business class
Sancaka Yogyakarta - Surabaya Gubeng Executive and business class
Mutiara Timur Banyuwangi - Surabaya Gubeng Executive and business class
Jayabaya Jakarta - Surabaya Gubeng Business class
Senja Utama/Fajar Utama Jakarta Pasar Senen - Semarang Business class
Senja Utama/Fajar Utama Jakarta Pasar Senen - Yogyakarta Business class
Senja Utama Jakarta Pasar Senen - Solo Balapan Business class
Merak Jaya Jakarta - Merak Business class
Mutiara Selatan Bandung - Surabaya Gubeng Business class

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.

On the other hand, 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.

Interesting Facts
Several "last" steam locomotives were built for Indonesia. E1060, a 1966-built rack steam locomotive (Esslingen 5316) is operable in Ambarawa railway museum. BB84, the last Mallet locomotive built for a non-tourist railway (according to Durrant) was built by Nippon Sharyo Keizo Kaisha in 1962 (works number 2007). This locomotive was plinthed in Banda Aceh and survived the December 2004 tsunami. Unfortunately, the locomotive is in a rather poor condition with its valve gear and cylinder pistons missing (as of March 2006).

Although not a locomotive of the state railway system, the former Trangkil 4 (Hunslet 3902), when built in 1971, was the last steam locomotive built in Great Britain. Sadly, this locomotive had been repatriated.

Preserved Locomotives
Indonesia had various types of locomotives, being the legacy of the many different companies. Surprisingly, only three steam locomotives remain in operable condition, all located in the Ambarawa railway museum. On the other hand, static steam locomotive displays are located in the Transportation Museum (under the auspices of the Department of Transportation) in Jakarta's Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park) and Ambarawa Railway Museum (managed by PT Kereta Api) in Central Java. Plinthed locomotives can also be found in most cities and towns. Somewhat surprisingly, few non-locomotive rolling stock were preserved.

With the Asian economic crisis of 1997, remaining hulks of steam locomotives formerly standing in former depots became valuable for their scrap value, and by 2000, most locomotives not already plinthed or sent to museums were scrapped, presumably illegally.

• Note1:
• Note 2:
• de Bruin, Jan. Het Indische spoor in oorlogstijd: de spoor- en tramwegmaatschappijen in Nederlands-IndiĆ« in de vuurlinie, 1873-1949
• Durrant, A.E. Lokomotip Uap
• Durrant, A.E. PNKA Power Parade
• de Jong, H. De Locomotieven van Werkspoor
• de Jong, Michiel van Ballegoijen. Spoorwegstations op Java
• Ir. Krijthe, De "Bergkoningin" en de spoorwegen in Nederlands-IndiĆ« 1862-1949
• Oegema, J.J.G. De Stoomtractie op Java en Sumatra
• Sejarah Perkeretaapian Indonesia, volumes 1 and 2
• PT Kereta Api (Persero)

External Links
• Indonesian Railway Industry
• Indonesian Railway history site
• Rob Dickinson's Java steam site
• Indonesian Railfan
• Indonesian Railways Preservation Society

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