"Almost all railways in West Sumatra have historical value because they have been inherited from the Dutch. The rail track is also integrated with the Ombilin Coal Mine in Sawahlunto, which was approved as a UNESCO World Heritage," head of the West Sumatra Transportation Office, Heri Nofiardi, said in Padang City on Monday.
The Ombilin Coal Mine has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage since the 32nd World Heritage Committee Session in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2019, and its existence deserves to be maintained, he added.
Maintaining the West Sumatra railway's heritage value was also one of the focuses of Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi when he reviewed the railway reactivation plan in West Sumatra on Saturday (Nov 20), Nofiardi said.
"The minister directly marked some railway bridges that must be strengthened but their heritage value should not be eliminated," he added.
The reactivation must have a benefit or function value. Hence, state railway company PT KAI has been asked to deliver innovations that can result in benefits to the company as well as to the community, he informed.
One of the efforts to integrate the transportation system in West Sumatra, he pointed out, is making the final train travel station a node of integration with other modes of transportation, such as state bus firm DAMRI.
Thus, people who disembark at the final station can directly get access to other choices of transportation for their destination, he added.
According to Nofiardi, the idea can be applied to the Kayu Tanam station, which is the last station on the active route of Padang-Kayu Tanam. Moreover, there are several tourist destinations a few kilometers from the station.
If Kayu Tanam station has direct bus access to tourist destinations, many people will use trains, he said.
Naras Station at Padang Pariaman also has the potential to be developed as a transit point for goods, such as CPO (crude palm oil) that is delivered from the north of West Sumatra to Teluk Bayur Padang Seaport, he added.
If Naras Station is used as a transit point for goods, cement commodities can be transported from PT Semen Padang to be distributed to the northern area, he explained.
If so, the density of the Padang Pariaman-Padang highway and vice versa can be reduced, while decreasing the risk of highway accidents, he said.
Meanwhile, vice president of KAI regional division II in West Sumatra, Miming Kuncoro, said the company has started some innovations, such as providing train cars for non-folding bicycles on the Sibinuang Train from Padang to Naras Station.
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