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KA Sibinuang: Pariaman to Padang by Train
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The KA Sibinuang is the flagship train of Divre II running between Padang and Pariaman. Being the smallest Regional Division in Sumatra and potentially the smallest operating group in both Java and Sumatra, the KA Sibinuang actually plies the entire mainline of Divre II. However, being a short journey of around 2 hours and with just 4 pairs of trains daily, the line used more for sightseeing and tourism purposes rather than a transport backbone of Padang.
Padang Railway Station, while it looks like a normal railway station, if not smaller than those on Java, is the largest railway station in Divre II.
The railway crossing at the entrance of Padang Railway Station offers a nice overview of the lines of the station, however, only limited cement trains use this crossing to continue on to Bukit Putus so chances of spotting trains crossing the road here are slim.
The entrance to Padang Railway Station on the main road is a short walk away to the actual station building.
The departure hall of Padang Railway Station.
Tickets for the KA Sibinuang can be purchased from Counter 1 3 hours before departure.
As I showed up only 1 hour before departure of the KA Sibinuang B6, I was left with a standing ticket.
Notice that the ticket printed here is from the Boarding Pass spool used in all other Daops and Divres.
Once purchased, get it checked in at the entrance to the platform.
The incoming BB303 attaching to the KA Sibinuang B6.
Divre II operates mainly with BoBo locomotives.
Coupling with the rake to form the KA Sibinuang B6 train to Pariaman.
The KA Sibinuang B6 is formed with the KA Sibinuang 1 rake consisting of 1 Kereta Makan Pembangkit Kelas Ekonomi (KMP3) coach (for hotel power and additional seats for standing passengers) and 4 Kelas Ekonomi (K3) coaches.
Announcements were made for boarding shortly after the locomotive was coupled to the rake.
The destination plate of the KA Sibinuang 1 on the coaches with the airline livery typical of PT KAI. The 1 represents the rake used, with the opposing Pariaman-based rake bearing the destination plate stating KA Sibinuang 2.
The older but unique destination sticker on the original KA Sibinuang-liveried coaches.
The interior of the KMP3 seating area. The food counter (not in operation) and generator are located after the door.
The interior of the K3 coaches on the KA Sibinuang.
I was expecting the original KA Sibinuang-livery coaches to have an older interior or even without being refurbished with air-conditioning, but unfortunately, they look just like typical K3 coaches everywhere else now.
The route map of the KA Sibinuang.
The KA Sibinuang B6 ready to depart for Pariaman. BB 303 73 03 heads the train today.
Departing from Padang Railway Station.
More passengers boarding at Alai Railway Station.
Alai Railway Station is located near Pasar Alai and Ibis Hotel Padang.
Crossing the river to Air Tawar Railway Station.
The train started to really fill up at Air Tawar Railway Station. The station is located just beside the main road and adjacent to Basko Grand Mall.
It’s now just standing room inside the coach.
Unfortunately, the conductor didn’t allow anyone to stand at the borders, so it’s a boring ride on the coach’s aisle for now.
Approaching Tabing Railway Station with more crowd coming in from the platform.
Waiting for the passengers to board.
A few more passengers board at Lubuk Buaya Railway Station.
Looking at Duku Railway Station from the aisle.
After departure, the train continued up north on the mainline, with the Minangkabau International Airport branch line splitting away on the left.
More scenic rivers to cross.
Lubuk Alung Railway Station is the main junction station of Divre II, with the line splitting off to Pariaman served by the KA Sibinuang, or Kayu Tanam served by the Railbus Lembah Anai.
KA Sibinuang B4 and B6 connects with the Railbus Lembah Anai B10F and B12F services respectively. However, through tickets cannot be purchased from Padang – you need to buy your Railbus Lembah Anai ticket at Lubuk Alung Railway Station.
Lubuk Alung Railway Station offers a convenient cross-platform transfer so it’s unfortunate that you can’t purchase a through ticket but to exit the station to purchase the onward ticket from the ticket counter.
The exterior of the Railbus Lembah Anai.
Crossing with the KA Sibinuang B5 from Pariaman to Padang with the KA Sibinuang 2 rake.
The line towards Kayu Tanam splitting off from the line to Pariaman after Lubuk Alung.
Dropping off some passengers at Pauhkambar Railway Station.
Pauhkambar Railway Station gives a rustic kampung feel, a vast difference from trains in the city.
The station still bears the old asset plate with the old logo of PT KAI.
Dropping off more passengers at Kuraitaji Railway Station.
Some coconut husks being dried out on the platform and on Line 1.
As Kuraitaji Railway Station is getting close to the Indian Ocean, and the Kota Padang, Padang Pariaman and Kota Pariaman areas were severely affected by the September 2009 Sumatra earthquake, evacuation plans in case of an earthquake or tsunami are clearly displayed in the station.
The coach gets a little bit emptied out on the way to the last stop, Pariaman.
Arrived at Pariaman Railway Station right on time. As the train had already exceeded the platform, I didn’t manage to walk to the front of the train to get a shot.
Exiting the station to buy my ticket back to Padang.
Pariaman is a seaside town popular with locals for the Gandoriah Beach, and which is actually the main purpose of running the KA Sibinuang. It is quite common for locals to call Gandoriah Beach as Pantai Wisata Pariaman or Pariaman Tourist Beach, and the KA Sibinuang as the Kereta Api Wisata or Tourist Train.
The facade of Pariaman Railway Station.
Overall, it wasn’t the most comfortable train ride I’ve been on, standing almost throughout the 97-minute journey (but I’ve been through a lot worse here and here in Surabaya), but it definitely offers a unique view of Padang with fantastic sceneries from the train of the many river crossings and nearby mountain ranges.
The KA Sibinuang train ride should be one of the things on your list to do for sightseeing in Padang.
This article first appeared on railtravelstation.com
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