Indonesia inaugurates the first high-speed train in Southeast Asia

In Istanbul, Indonesia unveiled the inaugural high-speed train in South Asia on Monday. President Joko Widodo officially launched the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (HSR) train at a ceremony, declaring it ready for operation.

The name “Whoosh” symbolizes the swift movement of a high-speed train and stands for “time-saving, optimal operation, reliable system” in the Indonesian language. This remarkable train can reach speeds of up to 320 kilometers (199 miles) per hour.

This Chinese-manufactured bullet train connects the nation’s capital, Jakarta, to Bandung in West Java province, covering a distance of 142 kilometers (90 miles) in approximately 45 minutes. It substantially reduces travel time between these two cities, saving passengers at least two hours.

Part of China’s extensive Belt and Road Initiative, this train marks a historic milestone as the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, serving as a transportation link for over 600 individuals traveling between Jakarta and Bandung.

China’s Premier Li Qiang personally experienced the train during a trial run last month when he visited Jakarta for a regional summit.

The train route encompasses 13 tunnels and makes stops at four stations, including Halim, Karawang, Padalarang, and Tegalluar.

Originally slated for launch in 2019, the project’s cost increased to approximately $7 billion due to delays exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This train project was a joint effort between four Indonesian state companies and China Railway International Co.

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