Bali Railway on Track for 2014

Bali Railway on Track for 2014


A proposed railway line circuiting the Bali coast and intended to help relieve the island’s chronic traffic congestion may be operational by 2014, a government minister has claimed.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said he hoped around half of the planned 560-kilometre line would be completed by the end of the current government’s term in 2014.

“If possible, at least half of the round-Bali railway ought to be finished by 2014. By the end of the current government half the line will be laid; the circle will be halfway complete,” Wacik told reporters.

The project for the line, which will run around the island and cost an estimated Rp7 trillion (US$810 million), is still at consultation stage, Wacik said.

“At the moment surveys and feasibility studies are being done by consultants from the Indonesian Railway Company (PT Kereta Api Indonesia).  But within the next three months they will release the plan, complete with the grand design and the budget projections,” he said, adding that both local and foreign investors were being sought to fund the project.

“For the full line around Bali, including the stations, the estimated cost is around Rp7 trillion. There are lots of private and foreign investors who are keen to get involved in this 560-kilometre rail project,” Wacik said.

Wacik said that the railway line was essential for Bali’s continued prosperity and future development.

“The political will is there because the south of Bali is full of hotels, residents and tourists. Also, the airport is too small, while the number of tourist arrivals is increasing. This railway will bring equality to the regions of Bali. It will bring a new tourist economy to the north of the island so that north and south Bali can both live,” he said, adding that special tourism packages would be developed around the railway.

“It will make it easier to deal with the foreign tourists who come to Indonesia, most of whom arrive in Bali,” he said.


  1. Paul (Jimbaran) says:

    Hope it runs better than the railway in Java. Might be a good idea to have only one engine so it doesn’t run into another one.

  2. Julian says:

    This would be a magical achievement at only US$1.5m/km. We struggle elsewhere in the world, in fact anywhere outside Bali, to create a railway so cheaply.

    The last island I looked at to build a railway on, Trinidad, it was costing $4bn for 170km, a rate of US$25m/km. Needless to say it did not go ahead even though Trinidad has similar problems, a tropical island with the majority of its population in one unhelpful place and a rural poorer population with high transport costs.

    This railway could be built (who am I kidding) but the ridership would be tiny outside of Denpasar. The trips outside of greater Denpasar would not warrant extending it to the countryside, you would need 300-400,000 riders per day to justify even a 30km long line.

    It would also be slow to reach anywhere on the North coast from the South as the railway would have to go around the edge of the island.

    If it was cheap I suspect it would have at grade level crossings, inherently dangerous,and that line speed would be reduced to 60km/hr. It would take 4 hours to get to the other side of the island by train, 2 by bus or car.

    Japanese officials, presumably from JBIC, are supposed to be interested. Why? It is a spectacularly poor investment.

    A tram system, with dedicated routes, would be only US$8-9m per km and would serve greater Denpasar. But where would you put it? Very few roads are wide enough for trams as well and you would not want to put them into the general traffic as there is no lane discipline.

    Seems a muddle.

  3. Doris Dazed says:

    By 2014 we “might” have half the proposed railway built. I’m sure there will be countless “land acquisition” problems along the way.

    Mr Wacik is not famous for his grasp of reality when it comes to tourism, etc, despite his official ministerial position.

    I agree with Julian that this has all the signs of a spectacularly poor investment. Nice idea, perhaps…hard to see how it will actually happen.

    Most Balinese I know haven’t even heard about it.

  4. Vivienne says:

    I have also worked in rail transport and engineering – but on the consulting side – ie. review, solution risk, PPP, restructure etc. Like Julian I am wondering the ‘costing’ of this exercise and like Doris the implictions of land acquisition and geography. Even if that is the estimation of the Bali side of a Public Private Partnership, it would be highly unlikely that a rail system could be built in 3 years from feasibility to finish. When it comes to hard infrastructure – the planning phase is approximately 50 years ahead for track location. Rolling stock (i.e. train cars) would also be required to be manufactured and fitted and would take up ot 15 years including test time.

    This has to be a fake story. Was it first printed on April Fools Day?

    Vivienne Eggers

  5. As an after thought perhaps the real story is that Mr Wacid is investigating a proposal for feasibility and the first phase of project transformation will be ready by 2014. Is it ‘light’ rail? Public transport in Bali vial rail is not completely ‘silly’ idea. It just depends on the strategy whether of not it is a cost effective solution. But I would say if real – Bali is in purely investigative stages.

  6. I also have a consulting background that includes PPP, ICT and engineering – restructure and strategy, transformation for rail.In most countries I am aware the planning time for hard asset infrastructure is approximately 50 years (i.e. track laying). Rolling stock or rail cars would have to be manufactured and tested. This could be a 5-15 year period. Apart from cost anomalies there are world public safety standards in manufacture, maintenance and test. Signal engineers are in world shortage.

    Perhaps the real story is that Mr Wacik is investigating a proposal for feasibility and the first phase of project transformation will be ready by 2014. Is it ‘light’ rail? Public transport in Bali via rail is not completely ‘silly’ idea. It just depends on the strategy whether or not it is a cost effective solution.

    I am sure Bali is in purely investigative stages.

  7. i kadek says:

    please dont do bali with cheap investment. if its all about the future must be realized with result and reasonable infrastucture,modern design and more futuristic but also friendly environment example : underground station near the city so would not effect the pedestrian and trafic road.
    or tollrail within every road for vehicles. i added not using ticket but use rechargeable card at every relocated places. we hope is to become true happen in bali.

  8. klaas says:

    Good idea but I think the cost will be a lot more than $800 mln. A better idea might be start with a line from Gilimanuk to Denpasar / Sanur / Padangbai (harbor !) with a junction around Kuta/Seminyak to Ngurah Rai Airport. This line can be connected to Java and used for cargo as well (beside passengers) which relieves the heavily congested roads. And it makes a Jakarta – Yogyakarta – Bali rail connection possible which can be profitable. In the south area it can be used for tourist (or locals) transport between the airport and Kuta / Sanur / Padangbai.
    Railways along the entire coast require a lot of tunnels and will cost several billion dollars and it is questinable whether this will ever be feasible due to the lack of passengers or cargo.

  9. Doris Dazed says:

    Two years down the line (pun unintended), I see no evidence of any progress. Most Balinese I know haven’t even heard of it. Another noodle in the hat for Pak Jero?

    “Bali Railway on Track for 2014”? REALLY? Doesn’t look even remotely possible. How about a cable car to and revolving restaurant on top of Gunung Agung?

    Part of klaas’ comment in December, 2011 makes some economic sense. A rail-link between Gilimanuk and somewhere near Denpasar might be both feasible and affordable. The rest is just pie-in-the-sky stuff, at least for now.

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