14 April 2009

Kereta Api to start Priok rail line revamp

After halting passenger service in 2000, the Tanjung Priok Station in North Jakarta will start revamping its tracks by mid March and partially reopen the station for passengers by May.

“We will start renovating the 9 kilometers of track to Jakarta’s Kota Station and the 8 km of track to Kemayoran Station by mid March,” said Akhmad Sujadi Jakarta spokesperson for state-owned railroad PT Kereta Api.

Akhmad told The Jakarta Post on Saturday the company would also repair 12 broken bridges along those same routes, renovate electrical connections, and upgrade the currently mechanical signaling system into an electrical one.

“The revamps are scheduled to partially finish in May, when we will reopen the passenger service by using the revamped tracks connecting Tanjung Priok to the Kota and Kemayoran stations,” Akhmad said.

The Tanjung Priok Station will officially re-open May 20.

“By the end of this year, the Tanjung Priok station restoration will be fully completed and fully effective for passenger services,” said Akhmad.

In 2000, Tanjung Priok discontinued its passenger services to three destinations: Surakarta and Sematrang in Central Java and Surabaya in East Java.

Two years later, the station also ended the only remaining passenger service to Kota Station in West Jakarta. Kereta Api’s decision to stop passenger service was due to the low number of passengers using the service there. It decided to focus on more popular routes.

With the halt in passenger service the station continued to service only freight trans bound for Bandung in West Java and Surabaya in East Java.

“The freight trains usually run between 7 p.m. and 4 a.m.,” said Suparno, a 28-year veteran employee at the Tanjung Priok Station, when the Post visited the station on a quiet Saturday.

The 3,768-square-meter white-walled building was built between 1917 and 1921 in a Dutch colonial style with high ceilings. It stands in a 46,930-square meter site nearby the hubbub of people and buses traveling via the facing Tanjung Priok port.

The station has been glossed up with a recent renovation, with newly painted walls, and new floor tiling.

The restoration will ultimately cost some Rp 9 billion out of a total Rp 60 billion (US$64.5 million) of state funds allocated for the station renovation. The reopening of the Tanjung Priok-Kota railway line is expected to help meet the growing public demand for mass rapid transit in the city.

The renovation is about 75 percent complete. “We still have to fix the broken roof tiles, though. You see, when it rains, parts of the floor are all wet,” Suparno said.

To support the target of reopening the station by May, the station is also preparing to evict squatters currently still living and doing business inside the station area. “We will have another eviction on March 15,” said Suparno.

He added that in December last year, the squatters had been cleared out, but some have already begun to reestablish their trading space.

Some 5,000 makeshift dwellings were cleared out in November last year along the Tanjung Priok-Kota. Tarsono, 50 something, who has been living and making a small income from his makeshift food stall on the station platform for 10 years, said he has now moved his stall next to the station fence, near the platform.

When asked if he planned to go back to his hometown of Brebes in Central Java after the next eviction, Tarsono said, “I hope I can still have my stall in the station. If not, I’ll look for another strategic spot.”

Tanjung Priok Station is planned to complete the current port hub by coordinating its services with the bus terminal, a planned Transjakarta shelter and the Tanjung Priok port, all of which are located a stone’s-throw away from each other.

This year, the administration has also allocated Rp 6.3 billion to renovate 20 bus terminals around the capital, including the Tanjung Priok bus terminal.

Agnes Winarti , THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA Mon, 03/02/2009 10:46 AM City

No comments: