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The Minangkabau Express is Indonesia’s third airport rail link after Medan’s ARS Kualanamu and Jakarta’s ARS Soekarno-Hatta. The service commenced operations on 1 May 2018, with President Joko Widodo officially inaugurating the line on 21 May 2018. Having predicted the opening date of the Minangkabau Express early this year, I purchased myself a cheap ticket on Indonesia AirAsia on the new route from Singapore to Padang, and was pretty happy that my prediction to get on the brand new train just after the opening was almost spot on.
Padang Minangkabau International Airport Access Map
Estimated route map of the Padang public transport network. Only main travelling routes and terminals are featured.
From the International Arrivals area, it was pretty close to the Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station.
Turn left after exiting customs and look out for the signs to the Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station, connected to the terminal building by a series of sheltered walkways.
The first shelter was probably used as a taxi and bus stand before.
This shelter offers a good view of the tarmac, and the plane at Gate 2.
Looking back at my Indonesia AirAsia plane which brought me here from Singapore on flight QZ140.
Continue on to the new grade-level sheltered walkway leading to the Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station.
The view of the Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station as seen from the sheltered walkway.
This is followed by a ramp up to the bridge which crosses the existing car park.
Looking back at the terminal building from the ramp.
The walkway to the Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station from here is air-conditioned.
It’s a cool and comfortable walk above the car park here.
Flight information is also available on screens installed in this portion of the walkway. There’s my flight which just arrived from Singapore 20 minutes early.
There are signs on the outside of the Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station building bearing the name BIM (Bandara Internasional Minangkabau), however, access to the station is via this linkbridge only.
At the end of the linkway, head down to the station via the set of escalators.
Purchase your ticket in cash at the information and ticket counter in the middle of the hall.
The timetable and fare chart of the Minangkabau Express. Click on the image to enlarge.
Fares are set at Rp. 10,000 if you are on a journey starting or ending at Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station, or Rp. 5,000 for journeys without accessing Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station.
My ticket for the Minangkabau Express from Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station to Padang Railway Station.
Interestingly, the Minangkabau Express ticket is using the usual paper tickets issued for regular Divre II trains and there are no Railink branding around the entire network. My guess is that with the low fares, the Minangkabau Express is not operated under PT Railink but just as another train in PT KAI’s Divre II.
Once boarding calls are made, proceed to the departure gate to get checked in, scanning the barcode on the ticket at the entrance, just like a normal Lokal train.
The waiting area by Platform 1 has some paintings of the KA Sibinuang and the Railbus Lembah Anai as a backdrop.
The new KRDE for the Minangkabau Express waiting at Platform 2.
The front of this KRDE bears a little bit of resemblance to the KRL ARS Soekarno-Hatta.
The Minangkabau Express does not open its doors until about 10 minutes before departure.
The view of the train at the platform.
Meanwhile, you can head to the air-conditioned waiting area with ample seats just beside Platform 2.
The destination plane of the Minangkabau Express.
The Minangkabau Express at Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station, with the unique Minang-style roof.
The train doors were open about 10 minutes before departure.
The interior of the Minangkabau Express. The train feels like it’s been designed for a long-haul commuter service rather than a premium express train.
Seats by the doors are positioned sideways.
The seats on the Minangkabau Express are arranged in facing bays of 4 with non-reclining seats.
Luggage racks are available on the Minangkabau Express near the train doors.
The route map of the Minangkabau Express.
A toilet is also available on board in the middle of the 4-car train.
The toilet bowl comes with an attached bidet operated by a knob at the side of the seat. A more “traditional” bidet spray is also available in case you can’t figure out how to use the one installed on the toilet bowl.
Baby changing facilities and a sink are also available in the toilet.
The new KRDE seems to be catered towards a high capacity in future with handgrips installed on almost the full length of the train.
The usual INKA handgrips with both the logos of PT KAI and INKA stickered on them.
The front end of the Minangkabau Express train.
There is a fold-out seat installed on this end of the train, presumably for one staff to have a seat here.
The view when seated.
For now, various PT KAI corporate videos are played on the TV screens on board the Minangkabau Express.
The LED destination display updates on the route and upcoming stops of the Minangkabau Express.
Departing from Minangkabau International Airport Railway Station.
Scenic views of Padang Pariaman on the Minangkabau International Airport branch line.
Crossing the Jl. Raya Padang – Bukittinggi, the main road in the Padang Pariaman Regency.
Approaching the mainline.
Arriving at Duku Railway Station.
Duku Railway Station looks as if it was refurbished specifically for the Minangkabau Express train service with high platforms and a spacious interior.
The high platforms of Duku Railway Station match up with the Minangkabau Express train.
Heading off on the mainline.
Crossing the monument on the border of Padang Pariaman and Kota Padang.
The railway runs parallel with the main Jl. Adinegoro.
Railway crossings are also almost parallel instead of meeting the road at right angles.
Crossing over a river.
A nice view of the Indian Ocean from on board the Minangkabau Express.
Making a stop at Tabing Railway Station where most passengers alighted.
Tabing Railway Station does not have high platforms. As such, the fold-out steps beneath each door on the Minangkabau Express train are deployed here.
Passengers can connect to the Trans Padang BRT service at Tabing Railway Station.
The opposing views of human development and nature on the left and right sides of the Minangkabau Express.
Passing by Universitas Negeri Padang.
Passing through Air Tawar Railway Station and Basko Grand Mall.
Approaching Padang Railway Station.
Padang Railway Station has both a high and low platform, with the Minangkabau Express taking Line 2/Platform 3 for the high platform.
Arrived at Padang Railway Station.
The exterior of the KRDE Minangkabau Express.
From the Minangkabau Express, exit the station as per normal.
The exterior of Padang Railway Station.
The onward transport map of Padang Railway Station (which isn’t of much use since it’s just directing you to get an ojek, taxi, angkot or a Tranex Mandiri Airport Bus from outside the station. The Trans Padang BRT unfortunately does not serve Padang Railway Station.
The timetable of the Minangkabau Express on a banner at Padang Railway Station.
I got myself a Grab from outside of Padang Railway Station to my hotel to check in before the KA Sibinuang ride to Pariaman.
Overall, the Minangkabau Express train service, DAMRI Minangkabau Airport Bus and Tranex Mandiri Airport Bus operate on each of their unique routes into Kota Padang, and allows you to avoid the hefty taxi fares while providing ample space for you and your luggage. While the airport buses may be able to serve more direct routes, the Minangkabau Express shaves off a little bit of travelling time into Kota Padang (excluding waiting time) and you can easily call for a Grab from Padang Railway Station, or transfer to the Trans Padang BRT at Tabing Railway Station. Furthermore, the Minangkabau Express costs less than half the price of the airport bus (Rp. 10,000 vs Rp. 23,500).
While it isn’t current well promoted on the internet, do give the Minangkabau Express a shot the next time you visit Padang.
This article first appeared on railtravelstation.com
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