After a series of delays and setbacks, Indonesia launched Southeast Asia’s first-ever bullet train last week.
The $7.3 billion rail line project, largely backed by Chinese state-owned investment firms as part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, now connects two of Indonesia’s largest cities, Jakarta and Bandung.
Though the train’s launch was originally scheduled for the day prior, an inauguration ceremony was held at the Halim railway station in Jakarta on Monday, October 2, as reported by CNN.
Named WHOOSH, an acronym for “time saving, optimal operation, reliable system” in Indonesian, the 86 mile line runs solely on electricity with no direct carbon emissions and travels at speeds around 217 miles per hour.
According to officials, this cuts travel times between Jakarta and Bandung from three hours to less than 20 minutes.
Managed by a joint state venture from both Indonesia and China called PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (PT KCIC), the train is well-linked with local public transport.
It is also equipped with a safety system that responds to earthquakes, floods, and other emergency weather conditions—a necessary feature in Indonesia’s tropical climate.
PT KCIC director Dwiyana Slamet Riyadi told Chinese state media outlets in September that there are further talks to extend the train to locations like the major port city of Surabaya, Semarang, and Yogyakarta–considered the “gateway to Borobudur,” the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
According to PT KCIC, the railway has eight cars and seats 601 passengers. All three booking classes–first, second, and VIP–are equipped with Wi-Fi and USB charging ports.
Featured image credit: China Railway Construction Corporation via Railway-technology.com.