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Indonesia High-Speed Rail Project Breaks Down (Again)

Last October, after heated bidding between China and Japan, Indonesia finally awarded China their coveted high-speed rail project (original story here). This much anticipated line will run 150 km (93 mi) and connect Jakarta with Bandung, on the densely populated island of Java. This would be the country’s first high-speed rail line, reducing the current three-hour trip down to just 35 minutes if the project is completed.

However, since locking in the contract with China Railway International Co. Ltd. and a consortium of Indonesian state-owned companies, construction has yet to begin. Despite holding a groundbreaking ceremony on January 22, Indonesia’s transportation minister announced that key paperwork had yet to be submitted in order to issue business and construction permits.

More recently, details have been presented on additional issues that are behind the delays. Among these are disagreements over track spacing and requests for seismic surveys to be carried out along certain stretches of the proposed line closer to Bandung.

Apart from safety concerns, the transportation ministry has also requested changes in concession periods along with a guarantee of an extended lifespan for the line—up from 60 years to 100.

Requests and disagreements on the project only seem to be piling higher, so at this point it seems doubtful that the high-speed rail project will be up and running anytime soon, let alone see completion by 2018 as originally intended.

H/T: Nikkei Asian Review