"It is possible for us to develop the high-speed train project if we can construct the elevated railway track," Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi stated here on Wednesday.
According to the minister, the option is offered to Japan, as the construction of a normal railway line will be difficult due to the presence of several railroad crossings that pose a danger to medium-speed trains.
Sumadi noted that there are at least 1,000 railroad crossings on the route between Jakarta and Surabaya.
Moreover, the government should construct a double track and displace railroad crossings as well as set up overhead electricity lines.
Hence, the Indonesian government has offered its Japanese counterpart, as the investor, to review the construction plan to upgrade the project to an elevated high-speed train network.
"President (Joko Widodo) is evaluating the efficiency of both the medium-speed and high-speed train networks," Sumadi added.
Sumadi said Indonesia should conduct a detailed study on both options, as developing transportation infrastructure is a long-term project.
The minister said Indonesia is seeking a private company to fund the high-speed train project, as the cost will be doubled for building an elevated railway network.
According to Sumadi, total investment worth Rp80 trillion is needed to develop the medium-speed train project.
The Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, along with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, are still reviewing the proposal to convert the medium-speed train network to a high-speed train link.
Trains on the high-speed network can reach speeds of 350 kilometers per hour, while the medium-speed trains can only reach 160 kilometers per hour.
Hence, to ensure safety of the railway network, the train operator needs to avoid railroad crossings.(*)