Scoot TR251: Palembang to Singapore by Airbus A320-200

After a short stay in Palembang solely for a train ride, it was time to head back. Scoot’s TR251 departs from Palembang at 3.50pm, arriving into Singapore at 6.15pm – a similar timing as the previous MI167 operated by SilkAir. Felt like just yesterday that I arrived in Palembang.

Oh wait.

After getting off from the Trans Musi Corridor 5 bus, I headed to the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport terminal building to figure out how to while away my 3-hour waiting time for my flight. (I made a mistake of checking out of my hotel too early.)

Oh, a Waving Gallery. Let’s go wave at things.

Oh what’s this?

Free showers are available at Palembang’s Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport for passengers. This shower room is located in the public area (landside) of the terminal one floor up of the central concourse for guys, so feel free to bring along an extra set of clothes and a towel in case you want to use it. These are basic cold water showers, but after sweating out in the sun a little at Ampera before heading to the airport, this came as a surprise and definitely freshened me up for my flight.

For ladies, the free showers will be located on the ground floor behind the curved staircase.

After my shower, I headed on to the Waving Gallery to wave at some airplanes.

An entry fee of Rp.3,300 (S$0.31) is charged to enter the Waving Gallery, inclusive of the 10% PPN (GST/VAT). You’ll get an official-looking ticket upon payment of the entry fee at the counter.

The Waving Gallery is a little bit small, but offers the full view of the apron. Lots of seats are available too, so this might be a good place to rest if you have a long wait for your flight.

There is another longer portion of viewing panels, but this seems to be for a future expansion of the transit area (airside).

The Waving Gallery is naturally-ventilated towards the front portion, which allows you to hear the planes clearly as they take-off or land. This also means that it does get hot by the windows when the sun is up.

Unfortunately though, the windows are tinted pretty blue, so it wasn’t the most pleasant experience for planespotting in general.

Some shots of the planes at Palembang:

Lion Air’s 50th Boeing 737-900ER

Batik Air’s Airbus A320

Lion Air’s Boeing 737-900ER in Boeing Livery

Wings Air’s ATR 72-600

Nam Air’s Boeing B737-500

Garuda Indonesia Explore Jet’s Bombardier CRJ-1000

Once done with waving, I headed on to check-in for my flight back to Singapore. (Scoot only offers their web check-in service only for flights departing out of Singapore – nowhere else.)

The Drop Zone (sounds fun) for those arriving by car, however, this is currently converted to a walkway as most of the actual walkway is closed to facilitate the construction of the linkway to the Skybridge linking to the Bandara SMB II LRT Station on the Palembang LRT.

The future Skybridge linking to the Bandara SMB II LRT Station on the Palembang LRT.

The guide for the Drop Zone in relation to which airline is serving the area, which is kind of pointless since there’s only one entrance and the board basically shows all the airlines operating out of Palembang.

Note that the board still shows SilkAir even though the flight has been replaced by Scoot.

The entrance to the check-in area. Similar to other Indonesian airports, access to the check-in area onwards are only for actual passengers. An itinerary check is done by a security officer before the entrance.

A security scan of all bags are done before entering the check-in area.

The check-in area is made up of one very long row of desks against the wall. Just walk along the whole row till you see your airline or flight number.

Hmm, looks like everything’s getting delayed here.

Scoot operates from Counters 31 – 33, the very last 3 counters of the check-in row.

The queue took about 20 minutes, and mine was done in less than a minute as I wasn’t travelling with any check-in bags.

Once done, head upstairs to the transit area.

My receipt-like boarding pass for the flight back to Singapore.

Once up, this was the entire transit area of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport. Glad I didn’t check-in too early.

I headed straight for the International Waiting Room.

Departure immigration and a last security screening was done at the entrance of the International Waiting Room.

Once passed immigration and security, it is what it is – a waiting room. So in case you need some last minute snacks or retail therapy, do not clear immigration and security first.

Thankfully, my flight isn’t delayed, and boarding commenced about 40 minutes prior to departure time.

The gate number at the exit of the waiting room does not correspond to the actual gate number of where the plane actually is. While boarding passes were checked at Gate 5 of the International Waiting Room, passengers have to walk over to Boarding Bridge E or Gate 2.

9V-TAQ “Shiok Lah!” in the new Scoot colour scheme, ready to take me back to Singapore. This is the same plane which I flew with to Hat Yai last month.

Walking down the aerobridge.

My assigned 28F seat by the window.

Seems empty for now. Unfortunately, I would be having a neighbour later on on the aisle seat, so it isn’t going to be an empty flight like yesterday.

The rainy weather outside the plane.

The almost-full flight back to Singapore.

No long taxis or u-turns this time, just straight to the runway and we’re off.

Bye Palembang.

Hope the taxiway gets completed soon.

Making a right turn towards Singapore.

Exiting Sumatra near the mouth of the Musi River, with the view of Pulau Bangka.

Rather uneventful once at cruising altitude, since I wasn’t in the mood to spend $17 on a pre-booked meal on this short 1-hour flight.

Flying over Batam on approach to Singapore.

Landing on Runway 02L.

A KLM Boeing 777-300ER operating as KL835 departing Singapore on the adjacent Runway 02C towards Denpasar (Bali).

(Take me back with you so I can do the return journey from Bali to Jakarta please.)

Landed at Changi Airport view a view of Terminal 3. That also means it’s going to be a long taxi back to Terminal 2.

Crossing over on the South Cross taxiways above Airport Boulevard to get to Terminal 2.

The polar opposites of the luxury of Cathay Pacific’s Economy Class on the Airbus A350 versus the world’s densest Airbus A330 with Cebu Pacific‘s whopping 436 budget airline seats onboard.

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 operating as CX716 preparing for departure at Terminal 4 to Hong Kong.

(I wanna go back to Hong Kong too.)

Arriving in Scoot’s territory at Terminal 2.

A look at the exit row legroom of Scoot’s Airbus A320. Is it worth the extra S$27 to get this seat for an hour? I’m not sure.

Bye Scoot.

Quite a far walk to the Arrival Hall from Gate F57.

There was quite a bit of crowd at arrival immigration, probably since it’s a Sunday evening, but I was out after about 5 minutes of queuing at the automated lane.

Overall, Scoot was sufficient for a short no-frills 1-hour flight from Palembang to Singapore with good flight timings allowing for a simple 2-day weekend trip. The on-time departure from Palembang was great too, considering the long delay streak for all other flights departing that day. I wouldn’t say I’d definitely recommend it for this flight route since it’s an oligopoly with Jetstar (4 times weekly on Scoot versus 3 times weekly on Jetstar), meaning you have to fly one of them whether you like it or not if you’re travelling on this route, but there’s only so much frills you may need for an hour on board an enclosed tube in the skies, and cheap fares with no frills was what I needed.


Kertapati Station: The Rail Gateway to Palembang

Kertapati Railway Station is located in Kertapati district in Palembang, south of the main central area of Ampera Bridge. While out of the city, it functions as the sole rail gateway to Palembang, with train services from here running through South Sumatra, connecting it all the way to Lubuklinggau and Tanjung Karang (Bandar Lampung).


You can get to Kertapati station from Palembang easily by car, ride-sharing apps such as Grab or Go-Jek, angkot, Bus Kota or by Trans Musi Corridor 6.

A ticket office is available for ticket purchases throughout the station’s opening hours. However, for long-distance routes with a lower limit of ticket sales, you are advised to pre-book your tickets early through online agents such as Foreign credit cards are accepted on but not on the official PT KAI ticketing website.

Even though the railway is on Sumatra, the check-in procedures to retrieve your boarding pass at the Check In Counter (CIC) remains the same here.

The timetable of all trains serving Kertapati station.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

The fare table for trains serving Kertapati station.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

A standalone advertisement for the Railbus Kertalaya.

Once done, get your ticket or boarding pass checked before entering the waiting room.

Ample seating is available while you wait for your train.

Follow the signs for your departing train.

Track 9
KA Sindang Marga: Kertapati – Lubuklinggau
KA Serelo: Kertapati – Lubuklinggau

Track 10
KA Sriwijaya: Kertapati – Tanjungkarang
KA Rajabasa: Kertapati – Tanjungkarang

Track 11
KA Kertalaya: Kertapati – Indralaya

The northernmost buffer stops of South Sumatra at Kertapati station.


Similar to PT KAI stations on Java, there is a separate exit for arrival passengers.

Looks like there was a plan for an integrated Trans Musi BRT and Waterbus halt right outside Kertapati station, but not anymore.

There are ample parking spaces around, but you can also get to the city by taxi or through popular ride-hailing apps such as Grab or Go-Jek.

All geared up for the 18th Asian Games or more commonly now known as Jakarta Palembang 2018.

If you’d prefer public transport over taxis or Grab, walk out of the station to flag down local angkots or Bus Kota (city bus), or continue walking ahead for about 5 minutes to the Simpang Sungki Halt for the Trans Musi BRT system.

Railbus Kertalaya: Indralaya to Kertapati (Palembang) by Train

The Railbus Kertalaya is a daily train service linking Palembang’s Kertapati Railway Station with Indralaya Railway Station, nearby the popular Universitas Sriwijaya (UNSRI) Indralaya Campus. It is the first railbus service in Indonesia and the only train to operate on this new branch line, originally meant to provide as an alternative to get to UNSRI Indralaya Campus. However, from the initial two return services a day at the service’s launch, the Railbus Kertalaya today only provides one pair of trains daily.

The Railbus Kertalaya‘s name is derived from its route – plying between Kertapati and Indralaya.

Demand for the train service is low as there is now a frequent dedicated Trans Musi BRT service (Koridor Aglomerasi Indralaya) shuttling directly between UNSRI Palembang Campus and UNSRI Indralaya Campus during the day time.

In order to catch this train, I Grabbed directly from Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport after touching down from Singapore, a road journey which took almost 2 hours thanks to the pothole-filled Palembang roads.

The Indralaya Railway Station entrance is actually from across the road via a pedestrian bridge – passengers must cross this said overhead bridge to the station as it leads directly to the ticket hall. If you are on the station side, you have to either cross the road to the opposite side to get on the bridge, or walk around the station compound, enter via the platform area and walk back towards the entrance to buy your ticket.

Purchase your ticket from the ticket counter. Tickets are sold only 2 hours prior to departure.

My ticket for the trip back to Palembang’s Kertapati station. A flat fare of Rp.3,000 (S$0.28) applies for the Railbus Kertalaya train service.

The timetable of the Railbus Kertalaya as seen on the ticket counter window.

The “fare gates” at Indralaya station. Once you have purchased your ticket, feel free to walk on through. Tickets are only checked on board the Railbus Kertalaya after departure.

A pull-up banner of the Railbus Kertalaya service.

Indralaya station has a rather spacious waiting hall.

It even has a garden in the middle of it.

Once you have walked over to the other end of the hall, go through the doors and continue walking to the platform.

Hello there, Railbus Kertalaya.

The buffer stop for the end of the line at Indralaya station.

The view of the main road of Indralaya (Jl. Lintas Tengah) from Indralaya station.

The Railbus Kertalaya ready for her passengers.

The Kertalaya signature on the top corner of the railbus.

The typical destination board for the Railbus Kertalaya.

As the Railbus Kertalaya is designed to cater to both high and low platforms, an retractable step can be found just before the train doors to allow easy access from low platforms.

The Railbus Kertalaya uses the Jacobs bogie – a single bogie in between each train car, sharing both train cars’ loads.

As such, the 3-car Railbus Kertalaya has just 4 bogies instead of 6.

The overview of Indralaya station, with the very empty car park.

Another shot of the Railbus Kertalaya.

Boarding the Railbus Kertalaya.

The interior of the Railbus Kertalaya.

The Railbus Kertalaya uses a different numbering system, with the prefix RB instead of the usual K3 2 for third class DMUs.

I’m assuming that RB08201 is split into:

  • RB: Railbus
  • 08: Manufactured in 2008
  • 2: Diesel Motive Power
  • 01: Car 1

with the middle and last cars bearing the numbers RB08202 and RB08203 respectively. But I may be wrong.

The overall map of Divisi Regional III (Divre III), from Kertapati to Lubuk Linggau.

WiFi is provided free of charge on the Railbus Kertalaya.

Each router on board the train has a different suffix. Connect to the one that has the strongest signal to you.

A well-stocked first aid kit is available on board.

A fire extinguisher is available in every train car.

The gangway on board the Railbus Kertalaya.

Doors are centrally controlled by the driver or the conductor. However, a switch is present at the side of the train doors to open each door individually in emergency situations or for operational requirements.

Departing from Indralaya station.

However, I didn’t know that there was another typical PT KAI-looking Indralaya station a short distance away after the newish-looking initial yellow-gray Indralaya station. My guess is that this station houses the operation and signalling equipment for this branch line as none were seen at the boarding Indralaya station.

The typical scenery on the Indralaya branch line.

Merging with the mainline linking Kertapati (Palembang) with Prabumulih, Lubuk Linggau and Tanjung Karang (Bandar Lampung).

A signal box at the junction of the Indralaya line.

From here on, the journey to Kertapati is on a double-tracked line with trains running on the right, as per the historical Dutch arrangement.

The typical scenery on the way to Kertapati.

Approaching Simpang station.

The Railbus Kertalaya made a stop here for about 20 minutes due to a supposedly oncoming cargo train. However, the cargo train never passed, and with the crossing cancelled, the train departed Simpang after the supposed arrival time at Kertapati stationalmost 20 minutes late.

I first thought that this was the train blocking the line, but no locomotives were in sight – I doubt these wagons moved here on their own.

A new station under construction between Simpang and Kertapati.

Passing under Jl. Mayjen Yusuf Singedekane, a bypass road which connects to the Musi II Bridge.

Some typical houses on approach to Kertapati station.

Ugh, what are you guys doing here too?

(A total of 150 CC206 locomotives were purchased in two batches, built between 2012 and 2016, and are now a common, boring sight on Java island.)

Passing by the Kertapati Locomotive Depot.

The rescue train parked on a siding.

The Rail Clinic, also parked on the same siding. Interestingly, the Rail Clinic bears a travel class of Bisnis (K2) instead of something for its own.


Oh yay, finally a CC201 in the old orange livery.

And here’s a rare sight in Indonesia – a CC204. Most of these locomotives are based in Kertapati depot (GE C20EMP), with just a handful in Yogyakarta (GE C18MMi).

Kertapati station has the freight yard and the passenger side by side – the station is located right beside the Musi River.

Entering the platform of Kertapati station.

Arrived at Kertapati station.

Following the safe run of the Railbus Kertalaya from Indralaya, the set of crew has a prayer before being relieved of their duty for this train. Note that this seems to be a Divre III thing as prayers are usually conducted before the train’s departure on Java island.

The northernmost buffer stops of South Sumatra at Kertapati station.

Some simple information (thought albeit incorrect) is available for onward public transport.

Similar to PT KAI stations on Java, there is a separate exit for arrival passengers.

Kertapati station is the gateway to Palembang city, however, it is located about 4.4km from the main Ampera area, across the Musi River.

There are ample parking spaces around, but you can also get to the city by taxi or through popular ride-hailing apps such as Grab or Go-Jek.

Alternatively, walk out of the station to flag down local angkots or Bus Kota (city bus), or continue walking ahead for the Trans Musi BRT system.

About a 5 minute walk from the station, at the Simpang Sungki Halt, I got on the Trans Musi to my hotel.

Overall, the Railbus Kertalaya offers a fast and fuss-free journey between Indralaya and Kertapati stations, with a travel time (excluding delays) of half that of driving on Palembang’s pothole-filled roads. I guess it’s a chicken-and-egg situation where there’s not many passengers because the train departs only once a day, and the train departs only once a day because there are insufficient passengers, but with just less than 20 passengers on my once-a-day train on a Saturday, it isn’t the most motivating sign that this train service can be sustained.

Perhaps if the train service could be increased to a bi-hourly frequency (with the double-track alignment between Kertapati and the junction to Indralaya, this shouldn’t be a problem), or even an hourly service with quick turnarounds, it will drive new demand for commuters on this route relying on their own vehicles or the Trans Musi Koridor Aglomerasi Indralaya direct bus service between UNSRI Palembang Campus and UNSRI Indralaya Campus during the day time.

Scoot TR250: Singapore to Palembang by Airbus A319-100

Palembang is one of Scoot’s newest destinations, with flights that commenced in November 2017. However, it isn’t exactly a “new flight” from Singapore as this is actually a transfer of service from SilkAir over to Scoot using the same days and timeslots of departure. But hey, a switch over from a full-service carrier to a low-cost one with fares at a fraction of how they were previously? My wallet and I aren’t complaining.

Scoot TR250 from Singapore to Palembang on Saturdays departs at 11.05am with a rare Pokémon – this flight is operated by an Airbus A319 instead of the typical Airbus A320s.

If you haven’t checked-in or printed your boarding pass yet, you can do so at Terminal 2 Row 11.

However, as I checked in online and was eligible to Scoot-to-Gate, that was exactly where I was headed to.

Note: Don’t be a smart alec like me to be the first to check in 72 hours in advance as Scoot assigns seats for those who didn’t pay for assignments starting from the very back of the plane. Wait for at least 6 people to check in ahead of you to ensure that you don’t get your assigned seat in the very last row of the plane. Once checked in, you are unable to make any changes to your booking, including adding meals, baggage or even wanting to pay to change seats.

Heading for immigration clearance.

As my flight was departing from Gate D40, it was off on the Skytrain to Terminal 1. Guess Terminal 2 was full-up on gates, hence my flight got booted over.

Turn left at the end for the Skytrain. Do NOT follow the signs telling you to walk straight ahead to Gates D40-D42 – you’ll be walking the whole way from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1.

Solo T2-departure departing from T1.

The Skytrain to Terminal 1 approaching.

Heading off to Terminal 1.

The view of Jewel Changi Airport, an upcoming mixed-use development which will most importantly expand the passenger capacity on the landside of Terminal 1.

Once out of the Skytrain station, make a u-turn to the right for Gate D40.

Hmm… Only 1 security screening lane is open with no queues? Hope this will be a light flight.

Oh hello there. 9V-TRB is one of just two A319s in Scoot’s fleet.

*If you thought that the A320 was a small plane, the A319 is a shortened version of it.

Unfortunately, Gate D40 is a Multiple Aircraft Receiving Stand (MARS) gate, and as such, the view of the A319 was partially blocked by the nearer aerobridge.

All of Singapore Airlines’ flying subsidiaries in one picture.

Am empty gate hold room = a potentially empty and comfortable flight.

Boarding commenced about half an hour before the departure time.

Instead of rushing to BoardMeFirst (for those who actually went premium), I decided to board myself last so that I can just fit myself into hopefully an empty row of seats instead of rushing to get my actual non-reclinable last-row corner seat.

Walking down the empty aerobridge as I BoardedMeLast.

Hello A319.

Am empty aerobridge is a good sign.

The initial feeling when you board the plane is similar to the typical A320s, however, once you get to the middle of the plane, you’ll notice that there is only one emergency exit row over the wings.

Decided to plonk myself into an empty row of seats somewhere near the rear, but still not all the way at the back. True enough, there were people occupied all the way at the back.

The legroom available on the Scoot A319. Based on the seat alone, it is identical to the A320 seats.

Ready for pushback from Terminal 1.

The neatly-arranged items in the seat pocket. Guess this is the first flight of the day for this plane.

An empty flight is a happy flight.

Hmm, Pekanbaru soon? Unfortunately, there aren’t any trains there, so, sorry Scoot.

Taking off from Changi Airport with a Scoot A320 behind, still in the previous Tigerair livery.

Once up after the north-eastward take-off direction, it was a u-turn back south towards Indonesia.

Flying over Pulau Tekong.

Over at the washroom, it was the cleanest I’ve ever experienced on any budget airline – guess being the first passenger to use it on the day has its perks.

The fleet information of Scoot.

The newly-christened yellow #A320baes with their new names. Interestingly, this plane, 9V-TRB, is named Yellow Bae in this list despite being in a hybrid Tigerair-Scoot livery. (I tried finding the name printed on the side of the aircraft when I disembarked at Palembang, to no avail.)

Up at cruising altitude.

Entering Sumatra.

Flying over the Musi River.

The view of Ampera Bridge from the plane.

Flying over the upcoming Palembang LRT line with Asrama Haji (PDK) LRT Station ahead.

Touched down on Sumatran soil at Palembang Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport.

As the taxiway was under maintenance, the plane – I kid you not – had to u-turn on the runway to taxi back to the terminal building. I know it’s pretty common in small airports, but this is my first time actually experiencing it.

Heading back to the terminal on the runway.

The familiar Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air parked at the terminal.

Parked at Gate 2, probably because this is an international flight.

Bye A319.

And hello Palembang.

A look back at the rare A319 in Scoot’s fleet. Yup, no Yellow Bae written on the aircraft here.

Heading to the Arrival Hall.

The Arrival Hall is located through this glass door, with a security guy pointing out the way so as to not mix us with the rest of the domestic flights ahead.

Heading down for immigration and customs clearance. As there are not many international flights here, the immigration hall only had 3 counters (2 for Indonesians and 1 (!!!) for foreigners) which probably operate only whenever there are incoming flights.

Once out of the baggage reclaim area and customs screening, be aware of the many touts offering their “taxi” service – you shouldn’t get into any of their cars unless you’re 100% confident. If you need one, head over to the Blue Bird queue on the left of the terminal. If you do decide on ordering a Grab, the driver will wait for you at the car park as there seems to be a tense competition between the taxis/touts and Grab (ie. you may be berated should these people find out that you’re Grabbing).

Alternatively, just cross the road and get on the Trans Musi bus to the city. Trans Musi is the key public transport system currently in place in Palembang, with frequent departures just like a regular city bus service. Trans Musi Corridor 5 links the airport with Terminal Alang-Alang Lebar (AAL), where you can change to Corridor 1 to get to the city centre and Ampera.

Looks familiar? Trans Musi employs similar buses as other popular busway routes in Indonesia including Jakarta and Batam. The Ministry of Transportation (Kemenhub) probably mass-bought these buses and spread them all over the country for greater economies of scale.

Overall, Scoot was sufficient for a short no-frills 1-hour flight from Singapore to Palembang with good flight timings allowing for a simple 2-day weekend trip. A flight on the A319 was definitely an added bonus too. It certainly won’t be my last flight to Palembang just yet too, with the Palembang LRT coming up in August 2018.

Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal: The Former Royal Malaysian Customs Godown Lives On

This post about the former site of the Royal Malaysian Customs in Singapore marks the 400th blog post on RailTravel Station. Thank you for your support!

Once a hive of activity for cargo trains arriving into Singapore from Malaysia, the former site of the Federal Customs Collection Station of the Royal Malaysian Customs at Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore continues its transportation legacy today as the new Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal. Instead of KTM freight trains arriving and departing a couple of times a week, the site now sees buses streaming in constantly throughout the day from SBSTransit, SMRT and Go Ahead Singapore.

The former address of Royal Malaysian Customs, Railway Godown No. 2, Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore 168789 is now Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal, 11A Spooner Road, Singapore 168795.

Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal opened on 10 March 2018, replacing the former New Bridge Road Bus Terminal located outside of Outram Park MRT Station, which is now closed to make way for the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Elective Care Centre.

For a viewpoint on the Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal relating to the facilities and bus service information, click here.

The Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal is located along a new stretch of Spooner Road, extending on from the angled right turn to the former Malayan Railways Running Bungalow and Quarters.

The former KTM quarters of Kemuning and Melati blocks, as well as the running bungalow can be seen from Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal. The two residential blocks are now used as interim rental housing for low income and needy families, while the Running Bungalow now functions as the Modern Montessori Pre-School Spooner Road Centre.

The former lush green railway yard is now populated by Lush Green-liveried buses.

Service information boards are available around the terminal, showing the vicinity of the neighbouring Spottiswoode Park Estate and the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

The boarding berths and bus services available at Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal.

Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal (and the future URA carpark) is linked to the nearby Blair Road by a new universally-accessible covered linkway, which connects to the existing sheltered walkway to Spottiswoode Park Estate.

The future URA carpark is located on the former headshunt of the goods lines on Kampong Bahru Yard.

The former site of the E&O shed, KTM coaches shed, loco shed and turntable is now a concrete-based temporary holding space for the roofs of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station platform while the site of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is used for the construction of Cantonment MRT Station of the Circle Line Stage 6, closing the gap between HarbourFront and Marina Bay MRT Stations.

A small portion of the Sri Muneswarar Temple walls can still be seen from Blair Road.

The former staircase to the Sri Muneswarar Temple is now removed, but you can easily see where it is with the “new” barrier aligning perfectly with the former entrance, and with it being slightly higher than the rest of the existing barriers.

No need for turntables at the yard anymore – the buses can simply loop around the terminal, or make a u-turn by themselves.

The overview of the former railway yard and the new Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal as seen from Kampong Bahru Road.

On closer look, it appears that only the roofs have been transplanted to this temporary holding site. It is not known where the original pillars are currently at or are still in existence from these photos.

While the Kampong Bahru Yard used to be served by off-service trains only, you can now most certainly enter the piece of land by regular on-service buses.

The former entrance to the Royal Malaysian Customs on the Kampong Bahru Road slipway towards Bukit Purmei at the junction of Kampong Bahru Road and Jalan Bukit Merah is now a pedestrian entrance to the Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal.

A double-decker bus exiting from the turntable Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal, running along the former goods line of Kampong Bahru Yard.

Heading out of Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal and the former Royal Malaysian Customs on a bus, passing by the former turntable.

Running along the former alignment of the goods lines, with the current Tanjong Pagar Railway Station platform roofs and former site of the coach and loco sheds to the left.

The original alignment of Spooner Road, now as an entrance to the former KTM quarters (rental HDB flats) and the running bungalow (Modern Montessori Pre-School).

The Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal is a positive development on the former railway land in Singapore. However, I do really wish that much more development can be done on the stretch of land from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands. After all, it’s been almost 7 years since the closure and pretty much almost nothing has been done yet (aside from the PUB Murnane Pipeline Project which is all underground). Once the roofs of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station platforms has been transplanted back, I really do hope that there would be something new to be built on the former site of the rest of the yard. After all, if everyone wishes to keep the land as it is currently, wouldn’t it be better to simply not evict the railway and let trains continue to run through?

Today, it is impossible to get from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar in 28 minutes by public transport. Let’s not hinder Singapore’s development and progress by preserving the former railway line as it is – closed and empty.

For a viewpoint on the Kampong Bahru Bus Terminal relating to the facilities and bus service information, click here.


AirAsia AK721: Kuala Lumpur (klia2) to Singapore (Changi Airport Terminal 4) by Airbus A320-200

AirAsia has one of the most frequent flight departures between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, with AK721 being the last AirAsia flight to Singapore for the day departing at 8.10pm. Since I had only planned to be in KL for just one day, coming up by an overnight bus, this flight timing was just nice for me.

I got on the AeroSky Ventures bus from KL Sentral which I pre-booked for RM8.90 when purchased together with my AirAsia plane ticket.

If you haven’t printed your boarding pass after checking-in online, you can print it from one of these self check-in kiosks.

You should head into the departure area once ready as the queues for immigration and security can be unpredictable.

Do also note that AirAsia is pretty strict with their hand luggage policy of one piece of cabin bag which must not exceed 56cm x 36cm x 23cm and has a maximum weight of 7kg. You will be pulled aside to get your bag “tested” in the frame or on the weighing scale if you might have a bag that’s borderlining or hitting the limit.

However, as I was just travelling with a day backpack, I wasn’t stopped by the AirAsia guy at all.

My flight was departing from Gate P9, so it was a mandatory long walk to the gate at the Satellite Building via the Skybridge.

First, a mandatory walk-through of the be Duty Free shops.

Getting on the first set of travellators. This is an addition to the initial design which only had 1 short stretch (as compared with the length of the entire Skybridge). The pair of travellators here (one on each side of the Skybridge) head in a single direction towards the Satellite Building only.

Getting on the second, middle set of travellators. This is the original single travellator set that klia2 had initially. Thankfully, common sense prevailed that such a long bridge wouldn’t work with just this single set. This middle set of travellators head in both directions.

You can catch a plane taxiing below the Skybridge if you’re lucky.

Getting on the last set of travellators. This is also an addition to the initial design. The pair of travellators here (one on each side of the Skybridge) also head in a single direction towards the Satellite Building only.

That also means that, if you have a flight departing from Pier L, you should factor in additional walking time back to the Main Terminal Building if you want to take a look at the shops over at the Satellite Building.

Another mandatory walk through shops, this time through the Eraman Duty Free.

Once done, you can immediately head down to the gates, or you could walk around this area for dining or lounge options.

Since I have a bit of time before my flight, let’s look at the lounges available here.

The Sama-Sama Express Hotel and The Airport Lounge klia2 is located on the left of the escalators heading down to the gates, and is the most prominent among the three lounges available in this area. However, despite klia2 having more low-cost carriers using the terminal, the lounge here costs RM108 nett per entry, nearly twice that of KLIA’s lounge at just RM55 nett.

The Plaza Premium Lounge is strangely tucked away behind the Wellness Spa, so do keep a lookout for the Wellness Spa sign if you wish to visit the lounge as the Plaza Premium Lounge logo is just on a small sign on the left of the door. A 2-hour lounge use costs RM168.

And last but not least, the AirAsia Premium Red Lounge, tucked away in a little corner on the left near the toilets (maybe MAHB still hates AirAsia idk). If you’re on AirAsia’s Premium Flatbed, this is the lounge you’ll be using. Otherwise, it retails at RM69 if pre-booked or RM79 for walk-ins. However, no matter where I clicked on Manage My Booking, I couldn’t find the link to purchase this lounge visit. Oh well, I bought on-board food for dinner anyway.

Heading down to the gates.

Turn left for Pier P.

Pier P’s shopping area looks like a slightly spacious Low Yat from this angle.

Finally, reaching the security screening for Pier P.

And this is why you should turn up for security screening early.

The queue took me a whopping half an hour to clear thanks to some PRC passengers shouting to cut the queue because their flight is leaving and some other PRC passengers at the front of the queue wouldn’t let them through.

No fault of the passengers at the front of the queue, seriously. Show up early for security screening guys.

After a trek from Gate P1 to P7, I finally got to the first travellator just before Gate P9.

I almost missed the entrance to the gate as all I saw was this board when walking straight along the pier.

The entrance to the gate is just a hole in the wall.

After getting my boarding pass checked, it’s surprisingly straight for boarding as the plane was ready for passengers more than half an hour before departure.

No further boarding pass checks here just before boarding.

That’s a pretty early last call.

Heading onto the plane with no queues in front of me.

Surprisingly being greeted by an AirAsia stewardess over here.

The view of the rather empty plane (for now) from my seat.

The average legroom of 28 inches for standard seats.

Alas, an empty plane was not meant to be for this short yet busy route.

Shortly after the seatbelt signs were switched off, the crew began the meal service. I pre-booked the Chicken Lasagne for dinner as it costed me only RM10 – definitely cheaper than eating before my flight at klia2. And it came with a cup of mineral water, so I didn’t bother filling up an empty water bottle like how I’d usually do for budget flights.

The meal was served piping hot…

… and the Chicken Lasagne definitely looked way more appetizing and also tasted a lot better than Scoot’s tomato soup Beef Lasagne. It was cheesy enough and you could actually see and taste the lasagna sheets. And free side vegetables too (not that I appreciated those though).

Here’s a comparison of Scoot’s soup Lasagne for reference.

SATS, the parent, really needs to learn from their subsidiary Brahim’s SATS Food Services. Tsk tsk.

Arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 4, with the petals trail starting from the aerobridge leading me towards arrival immigration.

Look up and let the petals guide you through.

Descend down the escalators for arrival immigration, or if any, to transfer to another flight.

Hmm, seems that business is bad for DFS?

Buy your wines if you must, but since I’m just on a commute from KL back to Singapore and tired out from the lack of sleep on Transnasional last night, I headed straight on home.

With no bags to collect, I headed straight out.

I decided to get the bus to connect to the Downtown Line instead of backtracking to Terminal 2 on the Free Shuttle Bus to get on the East West Line there, since it might take an equal amount of time to get to Upper Changi MRT Station or to Terminal 2 from here.

Take the lifts up instead of walking the long ramp – it’s nearer to the bus stop and requires significantly less effort too.

Once here, I waited for SBSTransit Service 24 to get me to Upper Changi MRT Station to continue my journey on the Downtown Line. The journey time from Changi Airport Terminal 4 to Upper Changi MRT Station on SBSTransit Service 24 takes 11 minutes.

Overall, AirAsia is a fairly good option to choose for a short hop from KL to Singapore, with a high frequency of 11 pairs of flights daily, affordable meal offerings that are cheaper than klia2 and with the ability to add-on frills and re-choose your seat after check-in should the one automatically assigned not be to your liking. (Though I have to say, their fares can be on the high side at times.)

However, back to MAHB for klia2, I would really hope that I’m departing from Pier L should I be rushing for my flight because the walking time to Pier P including immigration and security screening time is almost the same, if not longer, than the flight time from KL to Singapore.

Singapore Airlines SQ917: Manila to Singapore by Boeing 777-300

Singapore Airlines operates out of Terminal 3 of Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the newest and largest terminal in the NAIA complex. The ride to the airport was rather smooth from the city, but when approaching the terminal building, it felt slightly chaotic with a strange jam upon entering the terminal driveway.

I suppose this might be the reason. Only passengers are allowed into the terminal building. So everyone else had to say their goodbyes from their cars or on the driveway itself.

To enter the terminal, I needed to show my flight itinerary for a current departure. The security personnel was not interested in my mobile itinerary or boarding pass too, so it was a bit of a fumble just before entering the building while retrieving my A4 itinerary printout from my carry on bag.

Once satisfied, I kept my itinerary printout (ugh.) to go through the first security screening right there and then for my bags and myself.

Singapore Airlines’ check-in row at NAIA Terminal 3 is at Row B (1-15).

There was a bit of a line at the Economy Class counters.

However, since I did my online check-in the night before, I was up next in the line for the two dedicated internet check-in counters. Thankfully, check-in was smooth as usual, without the need for an itinerary printout.

My boarding pass for my Singapore Airlines SQ917 flight back to Singapore.

Once done, head over to the immigration counters to get stamped out of the Philippines, and get security-screened for a second time.

I arrived at the airport slightly earlier to gear myself out for the chaos queues that I was informed of, but it was surprisingly a lot smoother than I expected. (Either that or my expectations were lowered to almost zero.)

I spent about 3 minutes walking through the shops of NAIA Terminal 3, and I was done – that was all to walk around about.

Since I wasn’t banking on SQ’s really late lunch/really early dinner to get me through the afternoon considering how the breakfast on the flight to Manila turned out, I had a bowl of ramen at one of the food outlets in the transit area while waiting for my flight. Not the best, but still comparable to typical food courts in Singapore.

Once done, I headed to Gate 113, just behind the ramen place. Boarding passes are checked before entering the gate hold room (?).

What’s left of my boarding pass after the ground staff took the big portion of it.

My plane, hiding behind the aerobridge.

As I was seated in the Forward Zone, I was one of the last passengers to board the plane.

Despite being one of the last to board, the ground staff still checked for the boarding group written on the boarding pass.

Another quick check here by a roving staff and it’s off to finally head on the plane.

Total number of boarding pass checks at the gate: 3

Heading down to the aerobridge.

9V-SYI on duty to take me home.

Once again, earpieces were free to take just before boarding the aircraft. Seems like there was a raid on all the newspapers though, but not that I was interested in reading a copy anyway.

Passing through the Business Class section of the Boeing 777-300.

Once the doors were armed, the cabin crew commenced their Oshibori (hot towel) service. In tandem, the pilot announced that there would be a delay due to the Singapore Airshow – we would sit around at the gate in Manila for a little while more as even if we took off, we would still be flying around Singapore for quite a while as there would be a long queue of planes waiting to land.

Deja vu feeling of my flight back from Penang on Scoot. Oh well, at least I have entertainment while waiting this time.

The Economy Class legroom on the Boeing 777-300, similar to the Boeing 777-200.

The space available in front of me.

The view out of the window from the aisle seat.

Once the seatbelt signs were off, the crew started preparing for lunch. I chose the Beef Stroganoff over the other Asian option (which I forgot what it was).

I wasn’t super hungry since I had my ramen before the flight at NAIA, but this was actually quite good. There were 4 tender and meaty chunks of beef with double the amount of potatoes as compared to the breakfast from Singapore. I didn’t have much of the cold mango salad though.

Once the meal was done, the cabin crew came around with rock-hard Cornetto Cookies and Dream ice cream cones. No typos there, check this out:

That’s right, my Cornetto would have costed 20 pesos (~S$0.51) if I purchased it myself on the ground in the Philippines. What happened to Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s?

A quick toilet visit on the Boeing 777-300. The toothbrushes and combs are found in the amenities drawer.

I opted for a Singapore Sling just before the captain announced that we were going to be slightly delayed for arrival as there was still a queue of planes before us.

Thank you, Singapore Airshow. 🙄

Arrived at Terminal 3* Gate A12, the dilemma gate where walking all the way to arrival immigration would take around the same time as walking back to the Skytrain station for Gates A16 to A21 and then getting the Skytrain over to arrival immigration.

*While Singapore Airlines operates from Changi Airport Terminals 2 and 3 depending on the destination, for arriving flights, the arrival terminal will only be confirmed about 1 to 2 hours before the actual arrival.

I chose to walk. Sigh.

A quick check on Flightradar24 while waiting for my bags showed that my plane was on hold above Bintan while waiting to land.

Thank you, Singapore Airshow. 🙄

Just like my previous flight from Jakarta, there was a strange long wait at the belt for my bags too, despite the long trek from the gate to arrival immigration. Not sure what’s happening to Changi Airport lately. Perhaps flying budget with just a 7kg carry-on is the way to go since you don’t have to wait for your bags?

Overall, this flight was better than my onward flight with a nice meal which lasted me as my dinner and great service by the cabin crew, especially when requesting for the Singapore Sling after all the trays were cleared and everyone else’s tables stowed. However, the seats on the Boeing 777 were not as comfortable as the A350, and with a full flight with 3 crying babies around me (with one particular set of parents not doing anything but just staring at their kid while he was crying), it wasn’t the most pleasant flight out there. Not forgetting the delays thanks to the Singapore Airshow. Nevertheless, I was glad to be on SQ since it made the delays and the unpleasantness around me a little bit more bearable with me zoning out into my own world with the IFE and a  comfortable bit of legroom around.

Singapore Airlines SQ910: Singapore to Manila by Boeing 777-200

Manila is a reciprocally-popular destination from Singapore, with around 14 pairs of non-stop flights daily in total. Among the 4 pairs of Singapore Airlines flights daily, SQ910 is the only morning flight from Singapore to Manila, departing at 9.20am.

Singapore Airlines operates from both Terminals 2 and 3 at Changi Airport, depending on the destination. As with all South East Asian destinations, my SQ flight to Manila departs from Terminal 2.

Similar to my previous Jakarta flight, despite being a full-service airline, I needed to perform the self-service FAST Check-In at Terminal 2.

Remember to print exactly the number of bag tags you need.

Retrieving the receipt-like boarding pass from the self-service FAST Check-In kiosk.

Once done with tagging the bag, proceed on to Step 2 which is to drop off your bag.

Unlike my previous Jakarta flight where there was a staff behind the counter to check my bag in, this time round, the process was 100% automated, just like my Cathay Pacific flight from Terminal 4, less the roving staff.

My receipt-like boarding pass for my SQ910 flight to Manila.

My actual receipt for my luggage which I dropped off at the drop-off kiosk.

Proceeding straight on to Gate E5 since I arrived at the airport just in time for the whole check-in process to be done without a rush, and wasn’t planning to walk around much in the transit area anyway.

My shy plane hiding, with the aerobridge blocking the view of it from the gate hold room.

The rather full gate hold room. Guess that it’ll be a full flight today.

Since I was seated at the Forward Zone of the Economy Class cabin this time, I was the last boarding group to be called on board the plane.

Newspapers and Economy Class in-ear headphones are free to take just before stepping on board the aircraft.

Passing through the Business Class section of the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200. This is the most common regional Business Class seat available on the Boeing 777-200s, Boeing 777-300s and Airbus A330-300s.

The very full Economy Class section.

The space available in my Economy Class seat. While this is considered a Forward Zone seat, there is no significant difference in the seat itself, other than the position being nearer to the front of the cabin.

Before pushing back from the gate, the cabin crew commence their Oshibori (hot towel) service.

No pictures of the hot towel, because by the time I’m done with it, it’ll probably become just a wet towel instead.

Hmm, Murder on the Orient Express. Shall watch it on this 3-hour flight.

Shortly after take-off, the cabin crew commences the meal service.

2 choices were available – the western Egg Frittata or the local Nasi Lemak (which the crew translated to “Spicy Chicken with Rice” in English).

I opted for the western option as usual, which I regretted. This looks like a Happy Meal of sorts, which Sesame Street could use to run a new episode on.

How many potatoes are there? 1 potato, 2 potatoes, 3 potatoes!

Or maybe,

Today’s episode is brought to you by the number 1, for:

  • 1 sausage,
  • 1 cherry tomato,
  • and 1 main Egg Frittata which takes up the space of 1/3 of the entire dish.

After the meal, the cabin crew came around with rock-hard SATS Double Chocolate Ice Cream.

As the trays were cleared, I requested for a Fruit Spritzer to sip on as I continued watching Murder on the Orient Express. It’s actually just a mixture of Apple Juice and 7-Up, but it’s actually quite a nice combination.

Time for a toilet visit.

The toilet nearest to my seat was wheelchair-friendly, and thus more spacious than usual plane toilets.

Full Economy Class amenities were available, in case you’d like to brush your teeth after the meal, or you need to straighten up your hair a little after sitting down for too long. I just used the mouthwash as usual.

The view of the Economy Class cabin from the rear.

Before landing, the cabin crew opens the curtains and the gaps on the bulkhead for a better view of the closest emergency exits ahead of us.

Arrived at Terminal 3 of Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

After immigration, I headed downstairs to the baggage reclaim area to collect my bags. Took quite a while, even though I was one of the last to clear immigration because I chose the wrong line (read: slow) but my bag still made it.

A quick purchase of a SIM card from the Globe counter later, and I was on my way.

Overall, I was actually quite disappointed with this flight, probably since I’ve experienced the new Economy Class on the A350 very recently, along with an excellent breakfast to top it off while on board the other flight. Comparing the two egg breakfasts, it’s really like comparing the standards of a popular restaurant versus a nondescript hawker stall. The crew were also unfortunately not as friendly as the ones to Jakarta on the A350, possibly due to the presence of possibly not-so-pleasant senior crew on board on this flight. Plus, while both are turnaround flights for the cabin crew, Jakarta’s flight time is significantly shorter than Manila, and also SINMNL is also one of the longest turnaround flight from Singapore, so the agony here is real. So I guess all is forgiven.

Singapore Airlines SQ965: Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta to Singapore by Airbus A330-300

Singapore Airlines is a major player on the lucrative Singapore – Jakarta route with up to 9 pairs of return flights daily. As I didn’t want to fly on the typical Boeing 777s on this regional route, I chose to fly back to Singapore on SQ965 which operates with an Airbus A330-300. I would love to fly on the Airbus A350-900 again though, but there is only one return flight daily with it and it departs Jakarta in the morning, so, nah.

International flights from Terminal 2 depart from Terminal 2D and 2E, with Singapore Airlines operating out of Terminal 2D. Show your flight itinerary to the security personnel before entering the area for security screening.

(The suffixes D and E are actually just the concourse designation which relates on the airside.)

There is just a single row of check-in counters for Terminal 2D and 2E. Look out for the Singapore Airlines logo around the Terminal 2D area.

My boarding pass for the SQ965 flight back to Singapore.

Immigration is at the end of the very long check-in row, at Terminal 2E only.

Once done with immigration, you’ll find yourself very near the E concourse. Walk back to the D concourse past the (overpriced) duty free shops.

A bit of a chore, but it could be my last time doing this as all international flights are expected to move over to Terminal 3 by May 2018, with Garuda Indonesia, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Korean Air, XiamenAir, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines and AirAsia already operating there, so it’s just a matter of time.

Turn right to the gates when you’re nearing the end of the rows of shops.

There is a single travellator down the middle of the concourse. Take it if you must – it only speeds up your journey by a little because…

… the travellator actually overshoots the entrance of the security screening before the gate and you have to backtrack to it.

Once screened for your cabin baggage, especially on the liquids, aerosols and gels part of things, head on to the gate.

My flight departs from Gate D3.

Present your passport and boarding pass for verification. Similar to Singapore’s side, the staff did not take a portion of the boarding pass but merely scanned the code and returned it back to me, with the whole piece in tact.

My SQ965 flight back to Singapore, ready at the gate.

Waiting for boarding calls to be made.

Because I was seated near the back of the plane, I was part of the first group of Economy Class passengers to board the plane.

Earphones are individually packed for your use on board the flight, and are placed together with the newspapers just before the entrance to the plane. They are yours to take home for free.

The free newspapers available to take if you’d rather read them than to use the KrisWorld entertainment system.

Boarding the Airbus A330-300.

The first Economy Class cabin (in the middle of the aircraft) is decked out in blue and brown colours. About half of the seats towards the front part of this cabin are now designated as Forward Zone Seats.  If you are on a Flexi fare type, these seats are free to select in advance. For other fare types, the fee for seats in this area start from US$8.

The rear cabin, where I belong thanks to my sale fare, has warmer shades of orange and beige. If you are on a Flexi or Standard fare type, these Standard Seats are free to select in advance. For the Lite fare type, the fee for seats in this area start from US$5.

The legroom available on the Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300.

The safety video plays as the aircraft gets pushed back from the gate.

Taxiing to the runway.

Bye Jakarta (mainly PT KAI though).

My dinner for the evening: Beef Rendang with what I think is Sayur Lodeh (vegetable stew) and plain rice. Oh, and a dessert of Chocolate Cake.

Compared with Garuda Indonesia’s “Nasi Daging, the beef on Singapore Airlines was soft and chewable with a nice Rendang sauce, and not as dry and tough as GA’s. And chocolate cake > fruits of course.

The view of the Singapore skyline on the approach into Changi Airport from the south.

The (almost) empty shot of the rear Economy Class cabin.

The (almost) empty shot of the front Economy Class cabin.

Singapore Airlines operates from Changi Airport Terminals 2 and 3, depending on the destination. For arriving flights, the arrival terminal will only be confirmed about 1 to 2 hours before the actual arrival. Despite having departed from Terminal 2 for my Jakarta-bound flight, I arrived back in Singapore at Terminal 3.

The baggage reclaim belt assigned for my flight was Belt 45, but any baggage were nowhere to be seen, which is strange considering Changi’s efficiencies. Strangely though, there wasn’t a crowd around the belt – guess most passengers were transiting to another destination.

Luckily there were some sofa sets around Balt 45 so it was a comfortable wait, though it’s too long for my liking and my expectations of the airport.

Overall, Singapore Airlines is A Great Way to Fly on this short Jakarta – Singapore flight, especially with the ultra-low S$118 all-in fare I paid during the DBS SQ promotion last year. As compared with Garuda Indonesia, both CGKSIN for CGKSIN and A333 for A333, the meals on Singapore Airlines does taste better, and the overall service on board does feel more like home too. Oh, and not forgetting the part about bus-ing to the plane on GA which I detest. Considering how long I’ve not flown with SQ and am kind of used to budget airlines for short trips, it’s a premium that I’m glad to experience once in a while. So thank you DBS for this great promo!

(And no, this isn’t sponsored. I paid for the ticket with my own money.)

Soekarno-Hatta Airport Railink Services (ARS): Sudirman Baru (BNI City) to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport by Train

After 3 fulfilling days of non-stop train rides, it’s time for the fun to end as quickly as it started. I decided to get the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Railink Services (ARS) from Sudirman Baru back to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (SHIA) despite the previous negative experience because, hey, it’s a train.

Sudirman station on the KRL Loop Line is located just before Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station, with the ends of the platforms almost touching each other. The walk between the two stations takes less than 5 minutes.

Once tapped out of the faregates on the Jatinegara-bound platform (inner track), keep left to access the linkway to Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station.

Keep going straight.

Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station is just up ahead.

Get up the very temporary-looking set of metal stairs to the incomplete-looking walkway.

Continue straight to the station hall.

Beware of passing trains beside you.

Once at the end of the walkway, take the elevator up to the main ticketing hall.

The ticketing level on first look, with nothing opened yet.

Head on straight to buy tickets from the ticketing kiosks.

Touch “Regular Ticket” to start the ticket purchase process.

With the previous hard lesson learnt for purchasing tickets with a foreign credit and debit card, we went straight to purchasing the ticket with a prepaid card.

SHIA Railink ticket sales close 10 minutes before departure. Ensure that you complete your purchase 10 minutes before departure or you will not be able to get on the train.

Tap and hold the prepaid card on the reader for a couple of seconds until the payment has been accepted.

Once done, if you are flying with Garuda Indonesia or Citilink, you can check-in for your flight at the blue check-in kiosks on the left. Other airlines will progressively be able to use the check-in kiosks as evident by the number of black-and-white airline logos which can’t be touched on the screen.

Once done, head one level down to the boarding area.

The platform will only open 10 minutes before departure. Once ready, announcements will be made around the station and staff will be on hand to show you the way.

Scan the ticket code on the reader to access the platform.

Head one level down to the platform.

My SHIA Railink ticket for the journey from Sudirman Baru (BNI City) to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

As Sudirman Baru (BNI City) is just a passing-through station for the SHIA Railink, the train will not be ready at the platform yet, but only about 5 minutes before the departure time as stated on the ticket.

This is due to frequent commuter trains passing through the station. As there are no additional tracks built for Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station, there are no overtaking opportunities for KRL trains to bypass the waiting SHIA Railink train. Furthermore, this is a busy stretch with 3 back-to-back stations of Sudirman, Sudirman Baru and Karet, almost forming one very long stretch of platform.

The incoming SHIA Railink train from Manggarai, bound for Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The interior of the SHIA Railink.

Departing Sudirman Baru (BNI City).

Passing by local houses on the way to Duri.

Approaching Duri.

Looking back at the Tangerang Line which the SHIA Railink will take to Batu Ceper.

The train stops at Duri for about 5 minutes for the driver to walk to the front end of the train to take it onwards to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. No boarding or alighting is possible yet as the new separate platforms for the SHIA Railink are not ready yet.

Splitting off from the main Loop Line to the Tangerang Line.

The scenery on the way to Batu Ceper.

Splitting off the main Tangerang Line to the dedicated SHIA Railink Batu Ceper platforms.

Arriving at Batu Ceper (Railink).

The train arrived at Batu Ceper about 5 minutes before schedule, so there was a bit of waiting before the correct departure time.

The SHIA Railink train waiting at Batu Ceper.

Departing Batu Ceper, parallel to the main Tangerang Line.

Splitting off from the main Tangerang Line onto the new 12km branch line to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The scenery along the way to the airport.

Looping around the airport perimeter.

Approaching Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The view of Platform 2. Looks complete, wonder why it’s never used.

Ah, so this is the reason why Platform 2 can’t be used yet.

Arrived at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Bye SHIA Railink, you weren’t that much of an express ride from the city but I guess the journey is slightly more bearable because you’re a train.

My verdict on this journey? Pretty much the same as the previous onward journey – meh.

Scan the ticket again at the faregates to exit the platform.

Head straight on to exit the station.

Follow the signs to get onto the Skytrain to access the terminal buildings. In my case, I’ll be heading to Terminal 2 for my Singapore Airlines flight back to Singapore.

Head upstairs to the  Skytrain platform.

The Skytrain ride from Airport Railway Station to Terminal 2 takes just 2 minutes, however the waiting time was 6.5 minutes because I’d just missed one train. So including the walking time from the SHIA Railink train to the Airport Railway Station Skytrain station, and from Terminal 2 Skytrain station to the Terminal 2 building itself, I’d say factor in 15 minutes in total.

As the direct exit to the Terminal 2 building proper isn’t ready yet, you have to make a loop around the station via the car park.

Follow the temporary-looking shelter to the terminal building.

Once across to the terminal building, get the lifts up to the Departure level.

And as with most, if not all Indonesian airports, there is a security check before entering the check-in area and thereafter immigration. So I headed straight in first to check-in for my Singapore Airlines flight back to Singapore, just in case there was going to be a queue for immigration.