The Story of the Greater Jakarta Railways Network

Have you ever know what is the first station ever built in Jakarta? It is not the Jakarta Kota Station or the Tanjung Priok Station.  The first station was the Batavia Noord station. A source said that the location was behind the present Jakarta Historical Museum while the other source also said that the location of the Batavia Noord was at the BNI 46 Building at the Jakarta Kota. It was small and modest station with a few tracks and it was the starting point for the first railway line in Java running from Batavia to Buitenzorg (Bogor)

Batavia Noord station is also the beginning of the railway line between Batavia and Buitenzorg built by NIS (Nederland Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij) in 1870. The railway line was opened its route on 1871. Javabode, a local newspaper on 15 September 1871, wrote about the opening of the first railway line in Batavia.

During the early 20th century, some area had emerged in the southern part of the Wetevreden (Central Jakarta), the Batavia city center. Batavia grew toward the Meester Cornelis (Jatinegara) due to the construction of the Gondangdia, Menteng and Kramat. There was a need to improve the capacity of the railways network. Stations were built in Weltevreden (Gambir station in Central Jakarta), Manggarai, Kemayoran, Pasar Senen, Tanah Abang and Jatinegara.

Not only built some new stations in some new emerged area, there was a strong desire also to develop electrification of the Batavia railways network. The discourse had been discussed since 1917 by experts from Staats Spoorwegen, a Government owned Train Company. They found out that the electrification of railway lines in Batavia will have some benefit to the company.

The first electrification of railway began in 1923 for Tanjung Priok – Meester Cornelis (Jatinegara) Line, and it was completed on 24 December 1924. On 6 April 1925, on the 50th anniversary of the Staats Spoorwegen, Dutch Indies government held an inauguration of the electrification of railway lines and opened a new station; Tanjung Priok Station.

Tanjung Priok station was described as the monumental and the most magnificent station in Southeast Asia at that time. Tanjung Priok Station was served as a connecting station between Port of Tanjung Priok and Batavia, therefore the people who landed at the Port of Tanjung Priok generally use Tanjung Priok Station as a transit point before heading to Batavia.

Electrification of railway lines that surround the Batavia (Jakarta) completed on 1 May 1927 and in 1930, the electrification railways route between Batavia and Buitenzorg (Bogor) began to operate. The operation of the Electric train line in Batavia was marking the opening of the most advanced mass transportation systems in Asia at that time.

Up to date the electric commuter train still served as the most reliable transportation system for Commuters to travel between Jakarta and its surrounding cities.

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