KA Putri Deli Siang U53: Tanjung Balai to Medan by Train

The KA Putri Deli Siang U53 is an afternoon full-daylight Ekonomi Class train from Tanjung Balai to Medan, travelling on the Tanjung Balai branch line to Kisaran before merging with the mainline to Medan. KA Putri Deli Siang U53 departs from Tanjung Balai at 12.10pm, just 65 minutes after my KA Putri Deli Pagi U52 had arrived from Medan.

Go Show tickets can be purchased at the ticket counter, but these also ran out about 45 minutes before departure. No standing tickets (Tanpa Tempat Duduk) are sold on the Putri Deli. Some passengers purchased tickets up to Kisaran only, probably hoping to transfer to a bus or the next Sri Bilah from there.

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.

The check-in system is also implemented at Tanjung Balai.

My details showed up on the CIC kiosk correctly as usual.

My boarding pass for the journey from Tanjung Balai back to Medan on the KA Putri Deli Siang U53.

Once the gates to the platform are opened, I headed in to get my ticket checked and to board the train early.

The platform of Tanjung Balai Railway Station.

The destination sign of the KA Putri Deli.

My coach number and name. Despite being the same coach number as my onward trip, the position of the coach number changes due to the direction of travel.

The same locomotive which brought me from Medan, BB 203 78 02, heads my U53 train back to Medan.

The interior of the 106-seater Ekonomi Class coach.

Seats D and E are arranged in bays of 4 seats.

Seats A, B and C are arranged in bays of 6 seats.

The KA Putri Deli Siang U53 is formed of BB 203 78 02, 2 Ekonomi AC (K3) coaches, 1 Kereta Makan Pembangkit (KMP3) coach and 3 Ekonomi AC (K3) coaches.

*Photo taken with permission.

The bay of 6 seats which I was in. I booked this seat due to the clearer window without tint due to the emergency exit location, but it seems that there was a tinted sticker placed on the window anyway. Oh well.

The tinted sticker didn’t make for very good shots.

Approaching the main line before Kisaran.

Entering Kisaran station.

A lot more passengers were waiting for the Putri Deli at Kisaran.

The train immediately became full at Kisaran.

Heading onwards north.

After Kisaran, the conductor does his usual walkthrough of the train to check everyone’s seating place via his app.

The catering staff then comes around to sell food and drinks.

I bought myself a Nasi Goreng Ayam for lunch. This costs Rp.25,000 (~S$2.40). This actually comprises of dishes similar to the Nasi Goreng Parahyangan as sold in Java trains, though the piece of chicken is smaller.

Making a brief stop at Bandar Tinggi.

The Siantar branch line merging with the main line before Tebing Tinggi.

Making a brief stop at Tebing Tinggi, also crossing with the KA Putri Deli Siang U54 from Medan to Tanjung Balai.

At this point of time, I was asked by the conductor along with two security personnel for my Railfans Identity Card* but I explained that I didn’t have one as I was from overseas. As such, I wasn’t allowed to take photos from here on.

*If any local Indonesian railway fan is reading this, I would appreciate if you could advise how a foreigner could apply for one. Thank you.

As such, I stayed in my seat for most of the remainder of the journey, taking photos out of the window. Rebel, I know, but I can’t really cut off the article here right?

When the Reska trolley came around again, I bought a Cappuccino for Rp.9,000 (~S$0.87).

The typical view on the way north.

Making a brief stop at Araskabu.

At Bandar Khalifah where a Railink train was scheduled to cross, I headed out back to the door and looked around for any onboard staff. Luckily there wasn’t any by the door or at the station, so I waited briefly for the passing Railink.

The Railink U30 passing Bandar Khalifah at speed towards Kuala Namu.

The elevated railway elevating as the line approaches Medan.

As the train pulled into Medan, the cabin lights were switched off, signalling passengers to get off the train.

Disembarking from the KA Putri Deli Siang U53.

As I got off the train, the locomotive was already decoupled.

The coach numbers of the train were removed, and announcements were made in the station that my rake is now the KA Sri Lelawangsa U78 to Binjai and that passengers heading to Binjai may board.

Heading to exit the station, marking the end of my Tanjung Balai line exploration.

4 lines down, 1 more Divre I line to go to complete riding on all Divre I passenger lines.

Overall, it was a cheap and good ride with Putri Deli but getting stopped for taking pictures was a bit of a bummer, though no one was particularly rude about it, probably just worried that I might be a news reporter out to find some fault with the train. This is the second location that I’ve been stopped from taking pictures in Indonesia, the first being in Tanjung Priok, so if you are looking to take photos in Indonesia, do take note of where you should avoid.

But please don’t get me wrong, I’m not against being stopped from taking photos as I do understand where the staff might be coming from especially with unauthorised commercial shooting and news sensationalism, and none of the staff have ever been rude before. Indonesia is still an enjoyable country for railfanning no matter which part.

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