"The study is to have an objective description before making a decision on the choice of technology, financing and implementation of the plan," BPPT chief Unggul Priyanto said here on Tuesday.
Unggul said the pre-feasibility study is conducted on an order from the Transport Ministry in cooperation with three higher learning institutes - ITB, Diponegoro University (Undip) and Institute of Technology of Sepuluh November (ITS).
"The feasibility study is to determine the ideal train speed between Jakarta and Surabaya. There will be study per region. Jakarta-Cirebon by ITB, Cirebon-Semarang by Undip, and Semarang-Surabaya by ITS," he said.
Cooperation between the three institutes would help the team of engineers of BPPT in settling the job soon. The feasibility studies will include geo-technical survey.
Earlier it was decided that the Jakarta-Surabaya train would equal the planned Jakarta-Bandung speed train in speed. The Jakarta-Bandung speed train is to have a speed of 300 km/hour. However, later BPPT decided the speed would be 160 kilometers per hour.
"The state railway company PT KAI wants to cover the distance in 6-7 hours. The transport Ministry wanted a speed to cover the distance in 4-5 hours. We want the type of the Jakarta-Bandung speed train, but the cost is too expensive," Unggul said.
The Jakarta-Surabaya speed train would help reduce the congestion in the Jakarta-Surabaya highways . A speed of 160 kilometers per hour could make PT KAI more competitive in speed with airlines.
"Most important is to attract more travelers to going by trains rather than by air . The ticket prices are not different too far," he added.
The pre-feasibility study is to be wrapped up toward the end of this year and BPPT will submit the study report to the Transport Ministry and the Railway Directorate General.
"After the study has been completed , the government will decide when construction is to start. It will depend on the financial condition," he said.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to select Japan as its partner in the revitalization of the railway connecting Jakarta and Surabaya, East Java.
Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan was quoted as saying earlier the preliminary feasibility study for the project started in May.
"There will be joint study with Japan and we hope that [the construction] will finish in the fourth quarter of 2019," Luhut said.
Japan lost to China in the tender for the construction of rail track for high-speed train between Jakarta and Bandung.(*)