Hanoi (VNA) Indonesia and Japan on September 24 signed an outline deal for a medium-speed train project linking the Southeast Asian country’s capital of Jakarta and its second-largest city, Surabaya.

After two years of negotiations, the two countries agreed to use a narrow instead of standard gauge on the railway track to better adapt to land characteristics in dense and multi-networked areas on the island of Java.

Under the agreement, the project will be split into two phases, with the first between Jakarta and the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang and the second between Semarang and Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, stretching 436 km and 284 km, respectively.

Both Indonesian and Japanese officials have said the initial investment value of the project was estimated at 60 trillion rupiah (about 4.2 billion USD).
In an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News several months ago, President Joko Widodo said he expected construction of the railway to start next year.

Indonesia’s Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology has predicted that 12.4 percent of airline passengers between the two cities, about 8 million last year, will shift to the trains./.