Indonesia has launched Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway network, called “Whoosh.” This bullet train service, built with Chinese technology, is part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. The railway will connect Jakarta and Bandung, reducing travel time from three hours to just 40 minutes. Indonesian President Joko Widodo attended the launch ceremony and took a ride on the first train. The project was funded and built by a consortium of Indonesian and Chinese companies and had undergone several delays and cost overruns. Construction began in 2016 and was initially expected to be completed in 2019, but it faced challenges such as acquiring land and dealing with environmental issues, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. China won the bidding for the project in 2015 over Japan. The total cost of the project increased from an estimated $6 billion to $7.3 billion due to the delays. The name “Whoosh” stands for “time-saving, optimal operation, reliable system” in Indonesian.
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