Railway company PT Kereta Api Borneo, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, is set to build a 575-kilometer railway system with total investment reaching US$2 billion.
The railway network will pass through four regencies across the province.
“They will be divided into two lanes, namely the North Lanes that will stretch for about 305 km and the South Lanes that will be around 270 km,” Kereta Api Borneo president director Sergey Kuznetsov said in Balikpapan on Monday.
He further explained that the North Lanes will connect Tabang, a remote district in Kutai Kartanegara regency, to Maloy, a coastal area in East Kutai. Meanwhile, the South Lanes will start from Melak in West Kutai and end in Buluminung, North Penajam Paser. Construction of the two lanes is expected to be completed by 2022, he added.
“At this time, we have completed a number of studies, such as geophysics and hydrology. We also have taken and tested 2,000 soil samples from areas where the lanes will be built,” said the company’s construction and business development head Vladimir Volkov.
The two railway lanes will be used to transport goods, in particular natural resources such as coal and crude palm oil. The railways will be used to carry passengers at least five years after it begins operations in 2022.
“Operating a passenger train needs a much more complicated permit and comprehensive cooperation with state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia,” said East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak.