The KA Putri Deli Pagi U52 is an morning Ekonomi Class train from Tanjung Balai to Medan, travelling down on the main line from Medan up till Kisaran before splitting off. The Putri Deli is the only set of trains that travels on the Tanjung Balai branch line. U52 departs from Medan quite early at 6.30am, but it is the only train that I can take in order to have both my onward and return journeys still in daylight on the same day.
For this trip, I had purchased my ticket in cash on my previous trip to Padang as it didn’t make sense to me to pay the convenience fee on Tiket.com on this low fare (PSO) train.
Despite being a short-distance PSO train to me, booking can be done 90 days in advance which is great and the check-in procedures are the same as a long-distance train. Or maybe it’s classified as a long-distance train, hmm.
My details showed up on the CIC kiosk correctly as usual.
Getting my boarding pass printed from the CIC kiosk.
My boarding pass for the journey from Medan to Tanjung Balai on the KA Putri Deli Pagi U52.
Heading to get my boarding pass checked to enter the platform area.
Getting my boarding pass checked against my passport and scanned.
Heading over to Track 3 for my KA Putri Deli Pagi U52 train.
Crossing over to the platform on the southern end of the station as I didn’t feel like using the underpass.
I was seated in Coach 1 at the front of the train.
The destination sign of the KA Putri Deli.
My coach number and name.
My train today was hauled by BB 203 78 02, an A1A-A1A BB303 locomotive – a rare sight that can only be found in Medan as all other BB203 locomotives around Indonesia but 5 in Medan have already been converted to the heavier Co-Co CC201 type locomotives.
The interior of Ekonomi Class, the only type of seating found on the Putri Deli.
Making a brief stop at Bandar Khalifah.
Passing by the new Bandar Khalifah station.
Making a brief stop at Batang Kuis.
Heading onto the Serdang curve.
Making a brief stop at Araskabu.
Hmm, I see the potential and wish that there will be a commuter service linking Medan to Araskabu once the elevated railway and new stations are fully completed, though I doubt that will happen.
Crossing with the Railink U5 from Kuala Namu.
The Railink U5 heading onwards to Medan without stopping as there are no Railink trains crossing here for Kuala Namu.
The combined route maps of the Putri Deli and Siantar Ekspres.
The Kuala Namu branch line splitting away after Araskabu.
After Araskabu, the conductor does the walkthrough of the train while checking everyone’s seat position, as with all other long-distance PT KAI trains.
The scenery along the way.
The view out of the Putri Deli.
The KMP3 attached on board has minimal seating area which is used by the on-board staff. However, the catering trolley makes its rounds around the train, despite it being an Ekonomi PSO train.
The selection of food and drinks on board.
I got a Mie Pecel for breakfast for Rp.25,000 I think. My breakfast was actually paid for by a very friendly seat neighbour despite my refusal after chatting with me and being surprised that a tourist was on board this train. He also offered to get anyone in my bay of 6 seats food or drinks from the cart. As such, I didn’t know the actual price after the Reska guy told him the total amount (and Reska didn’t want to involve me or the other passengers who were fighting to pay).
The noodles comes with spicy peanut sauce which you pour it on yourself as it comes in a separate packet in the box, and shredded eggs on top. Tastes quite good for a pre-packed meal.
Making a brief stop at Tebing Tinggi, the junction station for the Siantar line.
The Siantar line splitting off from the mainline after Tebing Tinggi.
The squat toilet on board the Ekonomi Class coach. Only squat toilets are available throughout the train.
The on-trip cleaning staff also do their rounds as the train travels, though most of the time they’re sweeping up rubbish which commuters hand them rather than actual rubbish found on the train floor.
Making a brief stop at Sei Bejangkar.
Crossing with the KA Sribilah Pagi U43 from Rantau Prapat to Medan. The Sribilah does not make a stop at Sei Bejangkar.
The KA Sribilah Pagi U43 bypassing Sei Bejangkar at speed.
Some oil tanker rakes parked at the sidings.
Making a longer stop at Kisaran due to the scheduled 10-minute stop and the early arrival of the train.
BB 203 78 02 hauling my KA Putri Deli Pagi U52 at Kisaran, long hood forward.
A stray Bisnis Class coach bearing a Putri Deli nameplate. Hmm.
The points are set for changing to the Tanjung Balai branch line just after the platform.
Splitting off the mainline after Kisaran.
On this leg, the on-trip cleaning staff change the coach numbers to reflect the next train back to Medan.
The typical residential scenery on the way to Tanjung Balai.
Approaching Tanjung Balai.
The train arrived on time, with the locomotive decoupled really quickly and rounding to the other end of the train.
BB 203 78 02 rounding over to the other end of the train.
The on-trip cleaning staff also helps passengers with their big bags down to the platform.
Heading to the platform exit.
I was informed by my friendly neighbours that Tanjung Balai is a dangerous place and that I shouldn’t venture out of the station if I had no business to do in the city. As much as I hate to believe them, the scene at the exit didn’t help with changing that thought already planted in my head.
After exiting the station, my friendly neighbour (the one who bought me breakfast) was also kind enough to make sure that I went back into the station building before he went on his way home. I guess he meant business. These shots with becak drivers trying to get my business might sum up my short Tanjung Balai experience just outside of the station building.
Overall, a cheap and good Ekonomi PSO train, though RailTravel Station’s purpose is always just to simply ride on full routes where the destination doesn’t matter, as long it’s the terminus of the train.
From here, I headed back into the station to check-in for my KA Putri Deli Siang U53 train back to Medan.