The Kualanamu Airport Railink Services or ARS Kualanamu, sometimes simply known as Railink, is a dedicated airport rail link between Medan Kuala Namu International Airport and Medan City Railink Station, located just beside the Medan Railway Station, Merdeka Park and Centre Point Medan.
After arriving from my flight from Singapore and exiting the immigration and customs area, I had about 15 minutes to spare before the 1.40pm Railink trip to Medan City.
From the arrivals level on the ground floor, it is a straight same-level walk to the Airport Railway Station.
Cross the driveway to the Airport Railway Station.
Unlike the new and not-very-efficient Soekarno-Hatta Airport Railink, you can buy your ticket in cash at the ticket counter any time up to just before the train departs, with the exception for promotion fares (eg. booked through third-party online portals in advance or payment through points from credit cards or mobile network providers) which closes 10 minutes before departure.
The full fare for the ARS Kualanamu is at Rp. 100,000.
You will receive a plain white card with a receipt.
The receipt provides details of the train journey, along with an assigned seat, but I don’t think anyone actually follows the seat number when on board the train.
Continue straight past the ticketing counter to board the train.
The Airport Railway Station makes use of the Spanish solution, with 3 platforms serving 2 tracks. The middle platform is for boarding from the Arrival Hall, while the side platforms are for alighting, connected by a dedicated travellator up to the Departure Hall.
The ARS Kualanamu ready for departure.
A couple of seconds after receiving my white card from the ticket counter, I returned it into the ticket machine for it to be “eaten”, and I was on my way.
The waiting ARS Kualanamu with the staff rushing me a little as I was the second last passenger to board.
The ARS Kualanamu KRD train is manufactured by Woojin of South Korea in 2013.
4 such sets of trains were purchased, of which I am on the second set (08 / 4 = 2nd set).
The safety information of the ARS Kualanamu, located at the side of the train doors.
The overall interior of the ARS Kualanamu.
Luggage racks are available by the side of the train doors for convenient storage of luggage.
The seats on the ARS Kualanamu are Eksekutif-style 2+2 seats which can be reclined.
The legroom on the ARS Kualanamu is pretty generous.
The view of the ARS Kualanamu from my seat.
The train zoomed past the toll booths of Kuala Namu International Airport since it isn’t a road vehicle.
Passing under the Jl. Bandara Kuala Namu viaduct on the right turn merging with the main railway line.
Merging with the mainline at Araskabu station.
The ARS Kualanamu train made a brief stop at Araskabu station to allow the Airport-bound Railink to pass first. Trains heading to the airport have the utmost priority on the railway line – the line between Araskabu and Medan is single-tracked.
On the TV screen, Jokowi is seen riding on the KRL, of which his ticket is 97% cheaper than mine (Rp. 3,000 vs Rp. 100,000).
Time for a short hop to the washroom while the train is stationary.
The toilet is spacious and clean. This can be found on Car 3 of the train.
The Airport-bound ARS Kualanamu passing my train at Araskabu station.
Heading off to Medan.
Taking a nice curve at Serdang.
Passing through Batang Kuis station, with tamping machines parked at the platform of the new station.
Making a brief stop at Bandar Khalipah station.
The Siantar Ekspres was running slightly late by about 2 minutes, so instead of it waiting for the ARS Kualanamu, my train waited for it instead.
When approaching Medan, the new elevated railway line can be seen. This will help alleviate traffic jams at railway crossings in the city whenever trains pass by.
Arriving at Medan City Railink Station.
This is why the elevated railway is needed.
Pulling into Medan City Railink Station.
The ARS Kualanamu takes a right turn under the elevated railway to get to the Medan City Railink Station. This dedicated station is located separately across the tracks from the Medan Railway Station for all other trains.
Arriving at Medan City Railink Station with the opposing ARS Kualanamu ready to depart for Kuala Namu International Airport.
The minimal platform gap at Medan City Railink Station, suitable for passengers with roll-on luggage.
The platform of Medan City Railink Station is fully air-conditioned.
The escalators up are located at the front end of the platform at Car 1.
There are two possible exits – the one on the right for the dedicated exit of Medan City Railink Station with waiting taxis and access to Centre Point Medan, or the one on the left across the tracks to the Medan Railway Station.
I opted to go to Medan Railway Station first to settle some train tickets.
Exit to the Medan Railway Station through the open lane at the side of the fare gates – no need to pass through the gated area anymore since you’ve already returned the card into the ticket machine at the airport.
If you are exiting to the Medan City Railink Station Arrivals side, there are no fare gates to pass through – just head out.
Once over at the Medan Railway Station side, exit the station just as how you would normally would on a normal train.
Head to the exit at the end of Platform 1 beside Texas Chicken.
Overall, the ARS Kualanamu is a great airport rail link service between Kuala Namu International Airport and Medan City. The ~40km train journey takes around +/-31-55 minutes (depending on departure time and direction of travel – journeys to the airport are always faster), as compared to the road distance of ~37km and a 1 hour journey time. However, the speed and comfort of the train service does come at a premium price of Rp. 100,000 as compared to a bus from the airport to the city at just Rp. 20,000.
Nevertheless, the ticketing system is far less complicated than the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Railink, and with an airport rail link that actually offers significant time savings, this would be my first choice to travel between Kuala Namu International Airport and Medan City.