Bogor, West Java. Railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia plans to move a section of the Jakarta-Bogor rail line that was crippled by a landslide last week.
“After receiving a recommendation from the Ministry of Transportation, we will shift the Jakarta-Bogor rail line 40 to 50 centimeters to the left and that position is deemed safe for train travel,” KAI spokesman Sugeng Priyono said on Monday.
Sugeng said the shift will be temporary and the existing tracks will be used once repair work is done. The shift however, will take one or two days.
“Other than shifting the body of the rail, we also need to adjust the power line running above it,” he said.
The KAI on Monday conducted a series of tests in the area affected by last week’s landslide, located between the Bojong Gede and Bogor stations, on the temporary rail tracks to check the condition of the earth beneath.
Officials successfully ran a 20-ton freight train on the new tracks as well a 14-ton passenger train.
Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono, who monitored the tests, said the 200-meter section affected by the landslide is still unstable and the tracks need to be shifted to a new location.
“This is so it won’t pose any danger [to the trains],” he said. “After [the shift] we will still measure the earth’s movement.”
Bambang said a water drainage system will be built alongside the tracks in the affected area to stop more rain water from eroding the earth.
Since the landslide, KAI has been forced to make Bojong Gede Station, two stops before Bogor Station, the final stop on the Jakarta-Bogor line.
As a result, an estimated 30,000 commuters who would normally have taken the train from Bogor Station have been forced to make other travel arrangements or catch the train at Bojong Gede.
Exacerbating the crowding at Bojong Gede is the fact that nine trains were parked at Bogor Station at the time of the landslide and cannot be put into service with the tracks knocked out.
“We are still trying to prepare some kind of means to transport passengers from Bogor and Cilebut to the nearest station at Bojong Gede,” Bambang said.
KAI director Ignasius Jonan said only one of the double-track rail lines will be used to transport people from Bogor to Jakarta from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from Jakarta to Bogor from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“The rest of the time it will be used for repair work,” he said. “Once we see that the situation is safe again, we will operate the trains back under normal conditions.”
The KAI, he said, was also trying to remove the nine trains stuck in Bogor and use them to test the tracks’ strength.
“One train has been pulled and used to test the Cilebut-Bojong Gede line. There are eight more train and today they will all be pulled,” Ignasius said.
Once rebuilt, the embankment will have to be compacted, shored up with concrete and tested for its load-carrying ability, to ensure that it can withstand heavy rain without getting washed away.
The KAI said that normal services, with both tracks working, would resume in three weeks.
Deputy minister Bambang said the KAI should start evaluating the possibility of using bridges rather than embankments in areas prone to landslides.
He also called on inspectors to be more diligent in their checks, because this was the second landslide in that area in as many months. The earlier landslide was minor and only disrupted service for a day.