INDONESIAN President Megawati Soekarnoputri participated in celebrations at Cikampek on December 4 to inaugurate double track on a key section of the Javan north coast main line running east from Jakarta. According to Communications Minister Agum Gumelar, doubling the 135 km from Cikampek to Cirebon will raise capacity from 145 to 280 trains/day.

Work began in the early 1990s, and the 18·4 km from Hauregeulis to Kadokangabus was completed in 1998, using government funding. A loan of US$81m from Japan Bank for International Co-operation enabled a second track to be laid on the 62·8 km from Kadokangabus to Cirebon in 1999, although signalling and communications work on this part has yet to be completed.

A second JBIC loan worth US$67m enabled doubling of the 54 km between Cikampek and Cikaum to start in November 2001 for completion in March 2005. Including 12 bridges, 96 culverts and resignalling at nine stations, the work has been finished ahead of schedule by a consortium of John Holland, Adhi Karya and Itochu.