27 September 2009

Art and railways in the Netherlands

I was recently given a pack of postcards by Homme Heringa (Bureau Spoorbouwmeester) who was a member of the Identification Mission on the Revitalisation of Indonesia’s Railway Stations, together with Ben de Vries (Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency). These are not ordinary postcards, they are postcards published by the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) showing art works in the stations, on board the trains and along the tracks of the Netherlands. These are realisations of the Dutch Railways’ ‘art policy.’ The purpose of this art policy is to:

  • make the mundane world of public transport less mundane and more interesting

  • give visual pleasure and inspiration during travel

  • create a new image of the Dutch Railways

  • integrate art, design and architecture

  • show the societal cultural responsibility of the Dutch Railways
These postcards show a few examples of the realisation of this policy.

At the moment it is perhaps too much to ask for the Indonesian Railway Company (PTKA) to show any interest in the arts. Instead of art works, Indonesian stations are now full of cigarette advertisements that have encroached on the signage and even overshadowed PTKA’s own logo.

But at least PTKA has tried to brighten up some of its stations by painting them gaudy colours.

6 September 2009

Indian Railways to connect with 27 countries from Thursday

An agreement aimed at linking railroad systems of India and 27 other countries in Asia and Europe comes into effect Thursday.

The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network (TAR) enters into force June 11 - 90 days after China became the eighth country to have ratified the treaty, according to a press release issued by the UN Information Centre.

The other parties to the agreement are Cambodia, India, Mongolia, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Russia, Tajikistan and Thailand.

The TAR network comprises 114,000 kilometres of rail routes of international importance, aiming to offer efficient rail transport services for the movement of goods and passengers both within theregion and between Asia and Europe.

It will also provide improved access for landlocked countries to major ports, the Bangkok-based
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said.

The Agreement identifies stations of global importance, most of which are located inland and function like ports in coastal areas. These so-called 'dry ports' will act as consolidation and distribution centres in the hinterland, spur growth and bring the benefits of economic and social development to a wider population, according to ESCAP.

The new pact is the second to have been developed under the auspices of ESCAP, with the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network having entered into force in 2005.

The two networks are major building blocks towards the realisation of an international integrated inter-modal transport and logistics system for the region, ESCAP said.
( © IANS / India eNews)

© Copyright 2009 IndiaeNews.com. All Rights Reserved.

5 September 2009

Train crash kills one and blocks tracks for 24 hours

The Penataran's locomotive and first car jumped the tracks and overturned. (Photo: Noeldin, JG)

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Malang

A Penataran train serving the Surabaya-Blitar-Malang route derailed Friday in Tanjungtirto subdistrict, Malang regency, East Java, killing a passenger and blocking the route for 24 hours.

The victim was identified as Sudarsono, 50, a locomotive engineer assistant on the ill-fated train that was carrying hundreds of passengers.

Sudarsono died when his body was stuck inside the narrow steering chamber and rescuers worked for two hours to retrieve his body.

Locomotive engineer D. A. Wibowo, survived the accident suffering only minor injuries and shock.

The accident also injured nine passengers who were rushed to the Saiful Anwar General Hospital in Malang for further treatment.

Witnesses said the speeding passenger train that departed from Malang Station at 13:40 hit a crossing buffalo before it derailed some eight kilometers from the station.

Before the train derailed, it directly hit and destroyed the back part of a building belonging to cigarette producer PT Bentoel Prima Investama.

The first carriage, located right behind the driver, was separated from the other carriages during the crash.

The second was derailed, but was still standing. The rest of the carriages managed to remain on the train tracks.

Survivor Mislan Sukardi, 32, of Blitar, East Java, said he was sitting in a passenger seat in the first carriage when the speeding train suddenly put on the breaks.

"In a moment, the train rocked very strongly and fell off the tracks into a rice paddy next to the railroad," he said.

Head of Malang Station Sutiono said so far the buffalo was thought to have caused the accident. "So, it's not a human error. However, we will deploy a team to investigate the case. We just have to wait for the results," he said.

Five other passenger trains serving the Surabaya-Malang route and another train carrying fuel were unable to pass through the route.

The number of delayed trains could have increased if more than 24 hours were needed to remove the wreckage from the KA Penataran train.

As of Friday afternoon the state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) were waiting for the arrival of a crane from Surakarta, Central Java, to help remove wreckage from the site.

The crash caused damage to the railway tracks and dozens of railway sleepers and will have to be replaced.

Officers from PT KAI that inspected the crash site said the location was steep and that consequently every train leaving Malang automatically sped up while passing through the region.

"The permitted speed limit is between 50 and 60 kilometers per hour," an officer said.

Head of the state-owned insurance company PT Jasa Raharja's Malang municipal office, Gatot Nursalim, assured the family of the fatal victim they would receive a maximum Rp 25 million in compensation.

While injured commuters will receive a maximum of Rp 50 million.

"We will pay all of them as this is a public transport service and therefore all passengers are insured," he said.

Previously, the KA Mutiara Timur train serving the Banyuwangi-Jember-Surabaya route was also derailed. Loose railway track were blamed for last month's accident that injured dozens.

Copyright © 2008 The Jakarta Post - PT Bina Media Tenggara. All Rights Reserved.