Indonesia launches Southeast Asia’s 1st high-speed train

Indonesia launched South Asia’s first high-speed train on Monday.

"I declare 'Whoosh' is ready to be operated," President Joko Widodo said about the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (HSR) train at a ceremony.

“Whoosh” signifies the sound of a fast train and stands for “time-saving, optimal operation, reliable system” in the Indonesian language. It can reach a speed limit of 320 kilometers (199 miles) per hour.

The Chinese-built bullet train connects the capital Jakarta to Bandung in West Java province, covering a distance of 142 kilometers (90 miles) in about 45 minutes. It reduces travel time between two cities by at least two hours.

Part of China's multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, the train is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and will ferry more than 600 people to and from Jakarta and Bandung.

China’s Premier Li Qiang rode the train during a trial last month when he visited Jakarta for a regional summit.

The train route has 13 tunnels and stops at four stations, including Halim, Karawang, Padalarang, and Tegalluar.

Originally to be launched in 2019, the project cost escalated to around $7 billion due to delays exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Four Indonesian state companies and China Railway International Co. jointly built the train.

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