Congested Jakarta inaugurates new light rail system

Jakarta rail
Tracks for the Jabodek LRT were laid on prefabricated u-shaped girders. These save ground space and distribute the force of earthquakes more evenly (CreativaImages/Courtesy of SMEC)

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has inaugurated a new light rail system connecting central Jakarta with the neighbouring cities of Depok and Bekasi.

Begun in 2015, the so-called Jabodebek LRT has an elevated, dual-track railway that connects 18 stations along its 21.6km length.

Thirty-one fully automated trains are expected to carry some 500,000 passengers a day through densely populated and built-up areas.

Planners said it could cut Jakarta’s legendary traffic by nearly a million cars a year.

The project was built by Indonesian contractor PT Adhi Karya under a design and build contract.

In April 2017, the Indonesian transport ministry appointed Oriental Consultants Global, in association with SMEC and four other consultants, as the supervision consultant.

They had to contend with challenges including the covid pandemic and global price inflation.

SMEC’s chief operating officer for southeast Asia, Karen Atkinson, said her team and the contractor were proud of the outcome.

“Jabodebek LRT is an immensely complex rail project constructed through some of the most congested areas of Jakarta,” she said.

“Together we have delivered an integrated suite of rail systems, engineered to increase service capacity, guard safety, enhance customer experience, and streamline operations.”

The highly-automated railway integrates train control, signalling, and safety systems.

Tracks were laid on distinctive, prefabricated u-shape girders that save ground space and distribute the force of earthquakes more evenly.

Lead rubber bearings isolate the track structure from seismic forces.

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