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Indonesia stops high-speed railway in favor of slower train

Staff writer |
Indonesia scrapped plans for its first high-speed railway and asked China and Japan, who were battling over the multi-billion dollar contract, to submit new proposals to build a slower train, a senior minister said.

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The two Asian giants had lobbied heavily up to Monday’s deadline for the contract. But in the end, President Joko Widodo decided that Indonesia did not need a train that could reach speeds of more than 300 km per hour.

“The president has decided don’t make it a high-speed train. It is enough to have a medium-speed train,” chief economics minister Darmin Nasution told reporters.

He said that both China and Japan can submit new proposals to build a slower rail link between the capital Jakarta and the textile town of Bandung, to the south.

The contract for a 150-km (94-mile) rail line linking the two cities, which would have cut the journey to 35 minutes from around three hours currently, had provoked stiff rivalry between China and Japan.

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