Monday, August 18, 2008
Bandung Train Monument - The History of Railroad in Bandung
Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan
Train was first introduced to Indonesia (then, Dutch East India) in 1864 with the construction of the first rail road between Kemijen and Tanggung (26 kilometers) in Central Java.
It was twenty years later, on May 17th, 1884, that the first train arrived in Bandung after the Dutch colonial government successfully contructed the rail road that linked Jakarta (then Batavia), Bogor (then Buitenzorg), Sukabumi, Ciajur, and Bandung. The effort to build this rail road was a formidable one as Bandung is located on a plateau and surrounded by mountainous terrains and deep valley rivers.
The second, more direct, and shorter railway route that connects Jakarta and Bandung through Cikampek and Purwakarta was successfully contstructed and dedicated on May 2nd, 1906, about a month after Bandung received its status as a municipality (Ductch: Gemeente) on April 1 of the same year. This new route cut the travel time between Jakarta and Bandung by about a half (with the former route it took about 6 hours to get to Bandung from Jakarta; with the new rounte it took only 2 hours and 45 minutes). This was a significant development in the history of Bandung as city. The speedier connection between Batavia and Bandung gave a significant boost to Bandung’s growth as an interior urban center.
The monument pictured here is located in the southern gate of Bandung Railway Station. It is a relatively new installation. In the spot where it stands now, there used to be a triangulation lamp tower that was built to mark the unniversary of SS (Staat Spoorwagen – State Railway Company). The lamp tower was designed by Ir. E.H. de Roo.