Caixin
Oct 11, 2018 07:27 PM
WORLD

Indonesia’s China-Financed High-Speed Rail Project Off Track

Indonesian women look at the  construction site of the country’s high-speed rail Walini tunnel on Sept. 11. Photo: Takehiro Masutomo/Caixin
Indonesian women look at the construction site of the country’s high-speed rail Walini tunnel on Sept. 11. Photo: Takehiro Masutomo/Caixin

(Jakarta) — Indonesia plans to build Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway — but almost nothing is going to plan.

The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway will span 142 kilometers (88 miles) when complete, and is expected to cut the journey between the two cities from the current three to five hours down to 45 minutes.

The project was a key part of Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s strategy in his first term, and Japanese and Chinese companies engaged in fierce competition over the railway. Indonesia awarded the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project to a Chinese consortium in 2015. At the time, the railway was expected to begin operation in 2019 — an important date for Jokowi, as it will be a presidential election year.

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