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The Palembang LRT is Indonesia’s first intra-city light rail transit system connecting Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport and Jakabaring Sports City via the city centre. The line was completed just in time for the 2018 Asian Games, also known as Jakarta Palembang 2018, and is now a main mode of public transport for the people of Palembang.
The Palembang LRT now offers a direct rail link from the airport to the city for just Rp.10,000 (~S$0.91/~RM2.73), making it one of the cheapest airport rail links in the world (which also makes it about 20 times cheaper than another company which claimed that they “still offer(ed) the lowest airport rail transfer fare in the world” despite a significant price hike).
The public area at Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport is split into the arrival side on the western end and the departures side on the eastern end, with a central concourse for access to the eateries, shops and car park.
The new Sky Bridge linking the terminal to the new Bandara LRT Station (Airport LRT Station) is located on the departures side, cutting right through above the car park, which is a logical arrangement as it offers a direct route rather than another similar new airport link which has the shelter running around the car park instead, extending the walking time by up to 3 times of the direct route.
The new Sky Bridge is accessed by a new set of bi-directional escalators. Lift access is also available ahead, behind the escalators.
Heading up the the Sky Bridge.
The entrance to the Sky Bridge is naturally ventilated.
The welcome mural upon entering the air-conditioned portion of the Sky Bridge.
Convenience stores are available in the Sky Bridge in case you need to grab a snack after your flight, or while waiting for the next train.
The access up to the station is by a set of travellators.
Entering the station building.
The interior of the Bandara LRT Station is pretty airy. Ticket counters are available if purchasing a paper ticket by cash, but the Palembang LRT accepts E-Money bank cards issued by major Indonesian banks.
Bandara LRT Station has a double-track bay platform, which means that despite having a common at-platform concourse at the end of the track, trains depart using their own side platforms. The layout is also similar to Padang’s Minanakabau International Airport Railway Station.
Two types of route maps are available around the station and on the platform.
The view of the platforms from the concourse.
Staff are at hand to assist those using the fare gates.
A QR code reader is available for those who have purchased a paper ticket. However, I used my BNI Tapcash Transjakarta OK-Otrip card, to prove a point that major bank E-Money cards are accepted in the system, even if it’s meant for another transit system, and not purchased locally from Palembang.
Boarding the LRT train at Bandara LRT Station.
The interior of the Palembang LRT trainset. A pretty healthy passenger load, despite the higher airport access fare. However, most passengers were on a return leg back to the city probably as an LRT exploration, rather than acrual incoming flight passengers.
A wheelchair bay is available on board by the door, with a tip-up seat in place. The tip-up seat can be pulled down by anyone who wants a seat, without any external controls.
LED information signs are available on top of every door.
The numbering system of each train car follows the existing PT KAI format, with the train sets labelled as “K1”.
Trains are manufactured locally by INKA.
The gangway between each LRT train car.
LCD screens are mounted at the ends and in the middle of the train car for route information on the side and other promotional videos or advertisements.
A luggage rack is mounted on top of an equipment box to maximise space.
Most seats were filled up before departure from Bandara LRT Station.
The door to the driving cab, with a glass panel to have a nice view up front.
Departing from Bandara LRT Station.
The interior of the cab.
Hmm, I was told that the train was made in Indonesia, why do I see this very familiar logo?
The CCTV monitor is also of a certain non-Indonesian brand.
The Palembang LRT follows the existing Indonesian railway direction of travel, where trains travel on the right of a double track, just like in the Netherlands.
More than sufficient handgrips are placed along the length of each train car.
Taking the first curve out of the airport.
Making a brief stop at Asrama Haji LRT Station.
The CCTV kicks in, for the driver to watch the passenger flow of the cabin (and whoever is standing outside of the cab door).
Turning onto Jl. Lintas Timur.
The Palembang LRT uses fixed block signalling, and some signals are still not fully installed yet.
The train travels at a maximum speed of around 35km/h for the entire journey.
However, it seems that the line would be capable of speeds of up to 85km/h once it’s fully ready.
Or maybe it’s the BTS instead?
The train passes through the unopened stations at cruising speed between Asrama Haji and Bumi Sriwijaya.
Crossing with another Palembang LRT train set along the way.
Approaching Simpang Polda.
Seems like a good place to stay for trainspotting once Demang station opens.
Turning off from the main Jl. Lintas Timur.
More curves towards Bumi Sriwijaya.
Passing by Palembang Square.
Arriving at Bumi Sriwijaya, where more passengers are waiting to board the train.
Making a brief stop at Bumi Sriwijaya.
The first car towards DJKA still bears a sign for the reserved car for Asian Games contingents and officials.
Passing by Palembang Icon Mall.
A pretty tight curve just outside of Palembang Icon Mall to get to Dishub.
Another tight curve to Cinde.
The viaduct just barely passes by the corner of the existing building.
Back on Jl. Lintas Timur.
Passing over the Charitas junction.
Making a brief stop at Cinde.
The train gets a bit more filled up here, with passengers wanting to cross the Musi River.
Approaching Ampera station.
Passing by the Great Mosque of Palembang or Masjid Agung Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin I.
Passing by the Palembang Fountain Circle.
More passengers waiting to board the LRT to cross the Musi River.
Making a brief stop at Ampera.
The LRT viaduct lies north of the Ampera Bridge.
Crossing the Musi River on the Palembang LRT.
Passing over the Kertapati intersection. The road here leads towards Kertapati Railway Station and Indralaya, and onwards to Lampung and Bakauheni.
The track after Ampera Bridge is rather straight.
The LRT viaduct skirts around the Parameswara Monument in front of Jakabaring Sports City.
Approaching Jakabaring station.
Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium as seen from the LRT.
Making a brief stop at Jakabaring.
Approaching DJKA, the last station of the Palembang LRT. A scissors crossover lies before the station for trains to easily cross back to the opposing track for the journey back to the airport.
The interior of the Palembang LRT train after all passengers have disembarked.
The turnaround time for the train before heading back to the airport is currently around 10 minutes.
Looking ahead towards the LRT depot access track.
The double track merges after the station to form a single track access line to the LRT depot.
At DJKA, passengers have to disembark and clear the platform before the new passengers are allowed to access the platform and train.
The journey from the airport (Bandara) to DJKA takes 62 minutes.
Overall, the Palembang LRT is a brilliant first step for an iconic rapid transit system in the city, potentially alleviating traffic jams and providing universal step-free access to public transport currently not available in the city. With the existing efficient Trans Musi bus service, the Palembang LRT now complements the public transport network, acting as the trunk route parallel to the main road through the city centre, providing for an efficient multi-modal transport network in the city of Palembang.
This article first appeared on railtravelstation.com
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