The Brief History of Train in Indonesia

Trains are one of the most favorite public transportation in Indonesia. In addition to the relatively affordable price, the train is the most historical transportation associated with Indonesia. Do you know that the existence of trains in Indonesia has existed long before independence? In historical records, trains have helped the mobility of people even since the colonial era, precisely at the time of Cultivation. It has become the legend transportation since long time ago. Here are reviews for history of train in Indonesia.

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  • The train in Indonesia during the Dutch Colonialism

The initiative to build railway lines in Indonesia began in the era of forced cultivation in 1830. At that time, Governor-General Johannes van den Bosch initiated the construction of railways in order to increase the volume of haul crop production in the interior. In 1840, Colonel JHR Van der Wijk submitted a proposal to build a Jakarta railway to Surabaya.

The first 26 km railroad track on the Kemijen-Tanggung was built by NV. Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (NIS) in Indonesia for the first time. The construction of the railway starts with the first embankment of railway construction by the Dutch Governor General. L.A.J. Baron Sloet Van De Beele on June 17, 1864. On August 10, 1867, the first railway line in Indonesia began to operate in Central Java and connected to the first station in Semarang. This train left for Temanggung which is 25 kilometers away. The railway line is then expanded to reach Yogyakarta. At the beginning of its journey, the railway is managed by the Nederlands-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij company and uses a standard gauge of 1,435 mm.

In the 1920s, almost all the strategic towns and villages in Java were connected to the railway line. Some trains operate to transport sugar to factory. Currently, although Staatsspoorwegen is no longer managing trains in Indonesia, many of the railways are still in use today.

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  • The development of railway in Indonesia

The long railway growth in Indonesia between 1864 – 1900 grew rapidly. If the year 1867 only 25 Km. In 1870 to 110 Km. And in 1880 reached 405 Km. Then in 1890 it became 1,427 Km. Up to 1900 at 3,338 Km.

Beside in Java, the construction of the Inonesia Railway is also done in Aceh (1874). In North Sumatra (1886). Then in West Sumatra (1891). Then South Sumatra (1914). Even in 1922 in Sulawasi also been built rail road along 47 km between Makasar-Takalar. The operation is done on July 1, 1923. And the rest Ujungpandang – Maros that have not been completed. While in Kalimantan, although not yet built. However, the study of Railway Indonesia (KAI) Pontianak – Sambas (220 Km) has been completed. Likewise on the island of Bali and Lombok, once conducted studies of railway development. Until 1939, the length of the railway in Indonesia reached 6,811 Km.

However, in 1950 the length was reduced to 5,910 km. Approximately 901 Km disappeared. Which is thought to be in dismantle during the Japanese occupation. And transported to Burma for the construction of railroads there. KAI railway type in Indonesia was originally differentiated. With a 1.067 mm bushel width; 750 mm (in Aceh). And 600 mm in some cross branch and tram city.

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  • The takeover of the railway by the government

During the Japanese occupation, railways in Indonesia were managed separately. After independence, the fighters managed to take over the railway on September 28, 1945 on the island of Java. Separately, the railway line in Sumatra was also taken over. The railway line in North Sumatra is managed by the Soematera Oetara Railway, while the railway lines in South Sumatra and West Sumatra are managed by the Indonesian Repoeblik State Railway. At the same time, the Dutch also established a separate railway system run by Verenigd Spoorwegbedrijf in Indonesian territory which has been mastered.

After Indonesia gained full recognition of independence in 1949, various rail systems were combined into the Djawatan Kereta Api. The company brought in 100 steam locomotives in 1950 to re-serve passengers. In addition to steam locomotives, the company also brought in an electric-diesel locomotive originating in the United States in 1953. The nationalization policy set by the government made the entire railway line in Indonesia managed under the auspices of the State Railway Company in 1958.

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  • The History of KAI (Kereta Api Indonesia)

Despite being officially owned by the state and managed by the State Railway Company, the nationalization effort of the new train was completely completed in 1971. On September 15, 1971, the State Railway Company changed its name to Railway Company (PJKA).

The name of PJKA was changed in 1991 to become Railway Public Company (Perumka). During the period 1995-1999, the train service in Indonesia had experienced a resurgence. Various train services were introduced to increase passenger volume. However, PT. Railway difficulties facing competition cheap airline tickets so that must decrease the number of passengers.

Perumka name changed again on June 1, 1999 to PT. Kereta Api (Persero). PT. Railway still continue the monopoly of railway management in Indonesia. The classic problem of railway industry in Indonesia is still happening. The station remains shabby and stuffy. Added to the weak supervision of the system in and out of the station, many beggars and beggars roam the train. Not to mention the existence of train passengers who sit on the roof of the train that further worsen the Indonesian railway industry.

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  • The development of KAI in early 20’s century

While still a PT. Kereta Api in 2008, PT KAI suffered a loss of Rp. 80 billion. Classical problems are identical to rail conditions such as the number of street vendors roaming, passengers riding on the railway roofs, as well as the condition of rudimentary stations and trains.

Led by CEO Ignasius Jonan, PT KAI clean up. Settling begins with actions such as cleaning street vendors from economy trains, installing air conditioners on economy trains, eliminating passengers on train roofs, applying electronic tickets on commuter lines, and ensuring the cleanliness of every station and train. Although improvements have been seen, the balance sheet has been positive, and development plans have been set, PT. KAI still faces many challenges. One of which is still a concern is the quality of PT. KAI when compared to the condition of the railway of developed countries in the European region.

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  • Indonesian Train Today

Indonesian railway transportation continues to improve. Had judged mismanagement in the period 2010 to below, now transportation trains transformed into one of the leading mass transit mode to travel in the country. The current management of the company is still managed by PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) with its two subsidiaries, PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek and PT Railink. Service changes, station facial revitalization, technology implementation in railways until the train officers add to the charm of the people using the rail-based mode of transportation. Even train ticket service facilities that utilize vending machine ticket technology, can be equated with existing facilities in Singapore MRT station.

Those are the history of train in Indonesia. Some of you might think that it was awesome. In conclusion, the train in Indonesia keeps developing step by step. Moreover, now the government is on the way to make an MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and Fast Train. Most people of Indonesia can’t wait for that.