Friday, January 3, 2014

Train Rides in Indonesia, Jakarta - Bandung - Jakarta

19th December 2013: A ride to Bandung Train Station from Gambir Station (in Jakarta) at 10.50am

My family had no choice but to tag along into my well plan itinerary which involved a train rides to and from Bandung. It was a 4 days 3 nights stay in Bandung, a heavenly shopping stop for most Malaysian. From the website search, I was determined to take Argo Gede train to Bandung from Jakarta not knowing that the name has been changed to Argo Parahyangan when the executive and business class train was merged with Argo Gede and Parahyangan in 2010. 

Our family of 6 on a train "Argo Parahyangan" to Bandung

As per earlier entry, "The itinerary of Jakarta Bandung 2013", Syahirah and I were brave enough to take the KA Commuter Jabodetabek @ commonly known as KRL Jabodetabek ( to Gambir Station to purchase the ticket to Bandung for all of us. KRL Jabodetabek serves commuters in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, South Tangerang and Bekasi. The price for 1 way ticket was Indonesian Rupiah 70,000 (about RM19.60) and on returning to Jakarta was charged at Rp90,000 (about RM25.20). The lady who assisted me at the Loket no. 7 (mean counter 7) was kind enough to waive the passport no. requirement as I did not bring any that day. For information, you must fill in the form and handed over to the ticketing person for them to print the ticket according to the given information.

Long queue at Gambir Station for ticket on 17th Dec 2013 
A closer look of the train ticket posted by Syahirah in her IG on the departure date at breakfast time

After breakfast and early check out, Dilla's driver was kind enough to drop us at Gambir Station from Aryaduta Hotel. Though I was sick with bloated air and wind, we managed to use the lift provided at the station to reach Line 1 for our train. The station is very clean and presentable as Gambir Station is similar to Malaysia KL Sentral station. There's even a Starbucks Cafe for you to grab a coffee before starting your journey.

Worry not about your luggage as there are lift provided at Jakarta Gambir Station

Indonesia railways are operated by the state owned PT Kereta Api as the infrastructure is a state owned. Most rail transport in Indonesia is located on the island of Java, which has 2 major rail lines that run the length of the island, as well as several connecting lines. The island of Sumatra has 5 unconnected railway lines in the northernmost province of Aceh, North Sumatra (the area surrounding Medan), West Sumatra (Padang and its environs) and South Sumatra and Lampung. See the map below showing train services in Java Island that I shared from Wikipedia. P/S: I now dream for blue route via KA Argo Bromo Anggrek. Perhaps, 1 day :)

Historically, the first railway track in Indonesia was laid between Semarang and Tanggung (in Central Java) on 17 June 1864 by the Dutch colonial government. The line opened in 1867 and later continued to Yogyakarta. By 1894, the main cities of Java, Jakarta (then Batavia) and Surabaya were already rail-connected. By the 1920s, the system in Java had reached its peak, with most towns and cities connected by rail. You may read further in a shared link "History of Railways in Indonesia" should you wish to know more.

The logo of PT Kereta Api printed on the wall of Gambir Station, Line 1

Please take note that the executive coach we took that day has a lot of facilities. For instance, power switch is provided should you need to recharge your battery. There's also cafe available in class 2 car but a special food services was provided from Bandung to Jakarta where beautiful ladies came to your seat and gave menu for you to choose a well prepared lunch. There's also entertainment TV/video showing latest movie for you to enjoy during a 3hours journey. The toilet is quite clean to ensure a most comfortable and pleasant ride.

Switch for electronic charger is provided in the train beside a cafeteria
Rotated seat facing another 2 teenage adults

Continue with a history of the train for my record purpose; the Japanese occupation and the Indonesian War of Independence left Indonesia's railways in a poor condition. Hence, after independence, a batch of 100 steam locomotives were ordered in 1950 and in 1953 the first mainline diesel-electric locomotive was purchased from the United States. By the 1980's most mainline services have been dieselised. Electric multiple units were also obtained from Japan beginning in the 1970's, replacing a 60-year-old electric locomotives. Since the independence era, all mainline railways in Indonesia have been managed by the government. The owners of the private railway were compensated first, but the system was fully nationalised in 1971.

Arrived in a cozy nice Bandung Station

Upon arrival, we had to drag the bags (you may choose paid porter to do so) to the exit point. There's a taxi spot where we get a hired comfy vehicles for all 6 of us to Hotel Majesty at Rp75,000. The Bandung Station is very unique as can be seen in below photo that I snapped on the day we returned to Jakarta.

22nd December 2013: A ride to Jakarta Gambir Station from Bandung Train Station at 12.05pm

Like a neighborhood country, Thailand and Malaysia, Indonesia has constructed a new railway lines on double and quad tracking on existing railway lines. It enables PT Kereta Api to provide extensive passenger services. Now, various classes are available, from executive class air conditioned, reclining seat coaches comparable to the better classes of other country's railways, through non-air conditioned business class coaches having reclining seats, to the hard bench non-air conditioned economy class coaches for the cheaper trains. In last couple of years, the business and economic class are in the process of being equipped with air conditioned system. The whole process is completed in early 2013.

Tight security checkpoint for boarding into a train at Bandung Station

I'm sharing herewith a collection of photos taken during a trip to Jakarta in a beautiful rainy day.

Executive coach car no. 1 to Jakarta from Bandung

2nd time, the ticket was checked before departing Bandung station

Cleaning Argo Jati, a coach to Cirebon
Train tracks visible from the carrier showing a green mountainous view of Parahyangan

Random picture at 1 of the stop at Jatinegara Station

Train schedule displayed just outside of Jakarta Gambir station

Passengers drop off and pick-up point at Gambir Station

God bless that both journeys are mostly enjoyed by my family members. No complaints received so far. I am equally grateful and lucky that they were with me with my new passion in taking trains for my overland trip around the world. This is just the beginning. 

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