Spending a lot of time dwelling with Indian old and hectic trains and Jakarta frustrating trains, it’s time to get down a bit with a train in my city.
Medan is my home town, the capital city of North Sumatra Province, Indonesia. BInjai is the satellite city of Medan, located in the West of Medan about 10 km separating space between each border.
With the growing number of commuters from Binjai and around spending the daylight in Medan (working, studying, trading, shopping, etc) the Indonesian Railway Company (PT. KAI) finally decide to hit the market with the commuter train, using diesel fuel, by serving passengers between both city, that until that time, can only using land road to visit each city. I calculate about 17 km is the distance covered by Medan-Binjai train, connecting both cities downtown.
Named as Sri Lelawangsa, the train is comprised of 4 compartments with 1 locomotive. Short but it is make sense since the distance covered by the train will be less than 20 km. The advantage by using this train is that the train will carry the passengers into the heart of Medan City and Binjai too, so no need to take bus from the rural area to the downtown.
As the new commuter train to serve Medan – Binjai has been unveiled several years ago, I thought I would take my time to finally try it.
I went with my mother and my overjoyed little 4-years-old nephew (he is a big fan of train) in the afternoon and tracking for the 12.00 noon scheduled train leaving for Binjai. We purchased 3 tickets, only IDR 5000 per ticket (US$ 0,6) which is tangibly very cheap.
By 12.00 the train left Medan Railway Station
At that afternoon, I could say that scheduled train has about 70% load factor which is very good for outside-Java-island standard since 12.00 noon is surely not a commuter time and the train route is very short. The seats and the space are very good, windows, doors, woods, backing metals, and glass are very maintained. Oh yeah, since this is an economy train, there is no Air Conditioner. However, the open window above the main one pave ways for wind to come so we never feel hot inside.
My blowing nephew could not hide his excitement about the journey and he spent a lot of time watching the view nearby on the open window side. I of course always monitor him so part of his body will not be out of the window.
The train journey took about 40 minutes long. After crossing the hectic rural area of Medan city residences and roads, we were entering the Deli Serdang district (Sunggal area) which is less populated than Medan city. The view come across as area full of green paddy fields, corn fields, local wood houses, rivers, and open space. I somehow finally take the turn to enjoy the view while my nephew had been doing that since the very first moment train left the station.
We finally arrived in Binjai station, which is close to BInjai city downtown. The old-fashioned station is quite clean and well-maintained, it is good to walk down and stay for some rest after experiencing the first train journey we’ve ever done from our hometown to Binjai. I heard a story that the station building has been existed since the Nederland colonial era in Indonesia. It was a bit sleepy compared to Medan station and other busy stations in Jakarta area, but for many reasons, I like ‘normal’ stations.
After take some rest, we then went to the downtown using motorized rickshaw (becak motor) in the front of the station. That’s the end of our train journey diary, hope you enjoy my story plus the simple but entertaining pics. Regards