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Stalled Indonesia rail project overcomes major hurdle

Jakarta accepts Japan's plan to upgrade existing lines, drops new rail construction

Rail lines lead into the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. A Japanese-backed upgrade would halve rail travel times between Indonesia's two largest cities.

JAKARTA -- Indonesia has agreed that a Tokyo-backed overhaul of the railway connecting the country's two largest cities will refurbish already existing lines, a breakthrough that could accelerate the stymied project.

The Indonesian government is negotiating with Japan to upgrade a roughly 750km rail line traversing the island of Java. Traveling the current state-run link between the capital city of Jakarta and Surabaya, the nation's second-biggest metropolis, takes about 11 hours. The project would slash the trip to five or six hours.

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