Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Multi-Cultural Railway in Jakarta, Indonesia

Japanese train bound for "KASHIWA" runs on the Jakarta - Bogor Route in Indonesia
Photo: Courtesy Faris Fadhli

One year has passed since I moved from Jakarta to Tokyo (see my blog on May 27th, 2011). Time really flies. Life in Jakarta is now ancient history for me, but I still receive emails from Indonesian rail-fans. Whenever I read them, I miss my days in Jakarta.

When I look back now, I think the attraction of railways in Jakarta is its multicultural feature. Look at the top photo. A brightly-colored train runs by a dense tropical forest. This is indeed Indonesia; however, you can see Kanji (Chinese characters) on the front of the train. It is a remnant from the days of Japan, as the train was introduced from Japan. It is ex-JR East 203 series, which was operated on the Joban and Tokyo Metro Chiyoda lines. A Japanese train runs backed by an Indonesian jungle. This mismatch has a strong appeal to rail-fans, who love rarity.

A more complicated situation is found in the following picture. You can see a beautiful tropical sunset in Indonesia, but the station is obviously a gorgeous European style. Even more surprisingly, the train is a Japanese one. This station is Tanjung Priok Terminal, which was constructed by the Dutch colonial government in the early 20th century. The train is ex-Tokyo Metro 05 series, which was operated on the Subway Tozai Line. This triple mismatch also has a strong appeal to rail-fans like me.

I want to visit Jakarta again so that someday I may meet the multi-cultural railway.


Japanese train arrives at European style Tanjung Priok Terminal in Indonesia
Photo: Courtesy Adam Faridl al Fath