Indonesia’s big rail plans

Might as well dream big dreams… by Asia Sentinel’s John Berthelsen   

Indonesia is either about to get the most advanced high-speed rail operation in the world — or it isn’t. On Jan. 7, the Ministry of Transportation announced in Jakarta that following a 90 day feasibility study, work will begin this year to build a US$3 billion high-speed 357-km railway connecting Jakarta to the West Java cities of Bandung and Cirebon.

It isn’t just any high-speed rail system, and its untested technology inspires a certain amount of doubt about its viability. It is a “Hydrogen Hi-Speed Rail Super Hiway.” H2RSH, as it is called, is not only a maglev – a system levitated above the tracks by magnetism – but one that would float above dual tracks through which electricity, water, fibre-optics and gas would flow, according to a US-based publication called the Infrastructurist.  Although it is expected to be completed in two years, no prototype has yet been built. 

Solar panels inlaid in the track would provide the energy to move the trains and convert water to hydrogen to be stored for future use as fuel. The line would form the backbone of the government’s US$500 billion West Java Economic Corridor, which also includes the construction of a new international airport and seaport.
“H2RSH has been years in the making so we are very pleased to see this unprecedented yet groundbreaking project move forward,” Martjin Mollet, the Managing Partner for Creative and Strategic Marketing for the San Francisco-based CAEDZ Eco Synesis Group, which heads the consortium to build the project, said in an email to Asia Sentinel. “The Hydrogen High-speed Rail Super Highway is part of the West Java Regional Economic Corridor that CAEDZ is co-developing with the West Java Provincial government.”

CAEDZ Eco Synesis Group says it heads a consortium including the German engineering company Obermeyer Planen +Beraten GMBH, Asian Energy Ltd., the Malaysian engineering company Pembinaan Aktif Gemilang Sdn Bhd, Aon Risk Services, Aqua-PhyD, Aruna Solutions, Asian Energy Ltd., Tricap Group, Copernicus International, eCompass Group, Fidelity National Financial, Global Green Management, McGladrey & Pullen, Modular Integrated Technologies, Interstate Traveler and Tum Geotechnical Research.