Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pastika’s Model Railway Gets Another Run


Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has been driving his pet train project again, this time telling the Jakarta media his vision for a “slow train” service around the island is much more than just a road traffic management plan.

He repeated his message that it is an important asset for Bali’s tourism in its own right.

Pastika said he believed that once the railway was built tourism packages including rail travel would be easy to sell, saying one-day tours could be created.

“The train will stop at selected points where there are local tourism sites and attractions,” he said.

The governor also returned to the cost-cutting theme, repeating his idea that road easements could be used for the 565 kilometre round-island track, reducing land acquisitions costs.

“The aspect of land acquisition is not significant,” he said.

Pastika told his Jakarta audience the proposed railway was winning widespread public support from the Balinese, particularly in the north, which had not been able to join in the tourist boom because of poor road infrastructure.

The provincial government envisages an intermodal system connecting Ngurah Rai International Airport, sea ports, bus stations and tourism attractions. It says it will be in operation in 2015.

Pastika’s comments came at the signing of the memorandum of understanding covering the new rail system late last month.

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