Day 3-4: KA Gajayana from Jakarta Gambir to Malang

Back at Gambir after around 2 years since my last train trip departing from here. Something new here this time though, is the presence of the check-in counters, a new system in place from this year onwards.

The KA Gajayana is a daily overnight train running between Jakarta Gambir and Malang via Purwokerto and Blitar, and is one of the first trains to run with the new K10 bogie Eksekutif Class coaches. The train departs Jakarta Gambir at 5.45pm and arrives in Malang the next day at 9.20am.

I booked my key train tickets through as they had Rp.40,000 and Rp.100,000 promo codes to be used on tickets of different minimum prices, saving me about 20% than if I had gotten my tickets directly. Also, the official website does not accept foreign credit cards.

Check-in was really fast too, it probably took me 6 seconds to key in the 6 letters of my PNR code, another 3 seconds for the system to retrieve my booking and just 1 second for my ticket to pop out of the thermal printer. It would have been faster if I had scanned the code on my print-out but I was too lazy to take it out of my bag and just keyed in the code which SMSed me as a reminder of my journey about 3 hours before departure.

This system removes any possibility of ticket scalping as the PNR code can only be retrieved by the passenger matching the details on the ticket which will be checked by the staff before entering the passenger-only area while embracing the trend of online purchases allowing a paper-free ticketing process up till just before boarding the train.

I wish another certain neighbouring railway company would think of such a simple idea too instead of making life difficult for all passengers.

I don’t really like the trend of the thermal printers everywhere though, the paper is as thin as an NTUC receipt and the words will fade after some time, meaning you can’t keep the tickets for 20 or 30 years down the road as a souvenir, you’ll just end up with a rectangular orange slip of paper.

This also means you can’t check-in early, though check-in opens 7 days before departure. If you don’t keep your boarding pass carefully, the words or code will fade, and if you so happen to lose your boarding pass, you cannot reprint it – each boarding pass can only be printed once.

Ticket checking is done as usual before entering the passenger-only area and the platforms. This time though, the staff simply scanned the code printed on the boarding pass as compared to the previous ticking off the details on the blue ticket.

The concourse level to the platforms. Just follow the signs pointing to which train you are boarding – platforms are standardized for each train.

Most trains depart from Platform 3 or 4, the southbound platform.

Only a selected number of trains depart from the northbound or Jakarta Kota-bound platform, but probably due to either the quick turnaround of rakes or a short timetable allowance to quickly allow the train depart for Jakarta Kota and the depot.

In case you fail to see the signs above, there’s another sign with departure times placed just beside the escalator.

The information screens around the concourse area showing the next trains’ departure.

I arrived at Gambir early to do some trainspotting first, so I managed to see the Bima train which I will be on board the next day.

That also means I’m a whole 1 hour early for my Gajayana train.

The crew of the Bima getting ready for departure with a briefing and prayer.

Bima and MONAS.

Some KRL spotting at Gambir. To save you the agony of going through my KRL photos at Gambir, I won’t be posting them here to shorten the picture-length of this post. You’re welcome.

The locomotive of the Argo Jati from Cirebon doing a quick run-around to form the next train to Cirebon.

Argo Jati and MONAS.

Just as I got a little tired from turning my head and camera on the platform for the past hour, my Gajayana is arriving.

CC206 13 15 leads the KA Gajayana to Malang on my journey.

The KA Gajayana destination board at the side of my train.

The route map of the Gajayana found inside the train.

Inside the new K10 bogie Eksekutif Class coach on the Gajayana. This particular batch of coaches are manufactured in 2017. So now you understand my strange choice combination of train to Surabaya and Banyuwangi Baru.

The familiar start of the KATV programming as the train departs.

Departing Jakarta for Malang, as new automated announcements are played welcoming all passengers on board.

The welcome is followed by a safety video.

An error on my coach’s information panel saying that my train is a KLB (Kereta Luar Biasa) Eksekutif, which got promptly fixed after the safety video ended. I wish I had the money to be on a KLB though.

Heading off towards the west from Manggarai, splitting off from the Bogor line.

New viaducts leading to Manggarai Sentral in the future.

Blankets were handed out by the Reska staff shortly after departure. I wasn’t expecting this at all. But then again, I reminded myself that this is the KA 42 Gajayana and not the Shuttle 42 to Gemas.

The nice warm blanket with the PT KAI logo embossed at the corner. Each blanket pack is sealed for hygiene purposes.

Following behind the blankets is the conductor. I got my ticket ready for checking, only to realise he was just looking at passengers while alternating his glances on his phone.

The new boarding pass system registers all passengers at their seats upon check in, which links it to an app on the conductor’s phone, eliminating the need for the conductor to individually check tickets. He only stops to check on those holding concession tickets.

This is brilliant.

No wonder tickets got “checked” so quickly even though I was at Coach 8, the last coach of the train.

Shortly after, I decided that it was time for dinner, so I headed to the Kereta Makan with hopes of good in-train catering.

The crew room and small Musholla with just enough space for one person are also found in the Kereta Makan.

Hmm, meals on the counter, I’ve not seen this on my previous trip.

I asked for the Gajayana menu but I was told by the staff that the menu has been standardised across all trains. Hmm. I had a choice of Nasi Uduk, Nasi Goreng Bakso, or Nasi Goreng Parahyangan. Not as appealing as the tenderloin steak I was hoping to have, but Nasi Goreng Parahyangan was the most appetizing of the lot.

Here’s the packaging of the Nasi Goreng Parahyangan. Even before opening the meal box and hot chocolate, I had a strange feeling… The feeling of disappointment.


Nicely presented Nasi Goreng Parahyangan from Reska 2 years ago.


Fried Rice wrapped in burger-style with side of sad egg, thin chicken drumstick and garnished with individually-packed disappointment.

I tried to present it well. I really tried. But I failed.

Why, Reska, why.

Back in my full coach to retire for the night.

The frills available for the night’s sleep.

Through the night, there were some passenger movements and lots of loud announcements to wake people up at stations such as Purwokerto, Kutoarjo and Yogyakarta. There might have been some announcements made at Solo Balapan or Madiun too but I was too tired to be disturbed by it already.

I woke up as the sun slowly rose just before Kertosono, with the cleaning staff changing the bottle of almost-empty air freshener.

Kertosono station.

Since the train stopped here for a while, I made some quick shots while the train is stable for the few minutes.

On top of the new trend of INKA coaches having to lift the lever upwards to open the doors, there’s an additional latch at the bottom to keep the doors locked from the inside while the train is moving.

The squat toilet on the new 2017 K10 bogie coach.

The western sitting toilet has more space though, enough for a small wheelchair to fit.

Leaving Kertosono to enter the Blitar line, the long and wrong way to Surabaya, but my preferred way.

Crossing the Sungai Brantas.

Splitting off the line to Surabaya.

The sunrise as the Gajayana heads on to Blitar and Malang.

The train ran relatively empty for the last part of the journey.

Breakfast time, with the meals option exactly the same as dinner.

The very sad looking Nasi Goreng Bakso.

Couldn’t improve the presentation of this packaging at all.

Taking the sharp right curve after Tulungagung.

Crossing over the Nguri railway bridge.

On the way to Blitar.

Blitar station. And time for more still shots of the interior of the coach.

The gangway design familiar to new INKA products.

The reclined and upright seat position of the K10 bogie Eksekutif class.

On the way to Malang.

And on the left of the train after Blitar sits the Gunung Kelud or Mount Kelud, an active volcano which last erupted in 2014 and the namesake of the PELNI ship which brought me from Batam to Jakarta.

The Mount Kelud got shy after the initial shot though, not sure if it’s because of the sunlight, clouds or volcanic dust.

Passing beside the Karangkates Dam before entering a series of tunnels around the Karangkates Reservoir.

More scenery on the way to Malang.

The interior of the almost-empty coach on the Gajayana.

While offered as the lowest fare class, it’s clearly not the seat which offers the best legroom even though it’s at the end of the coach.

The cheap but inconvenient single seat at the end of the coach, as you will be the doorman for the passengers who walk through the coach without shutting the doors. Even if you hate your new found job, you still have to do it unless you plan to endure the noisy ride.

Arriving into Malang with the KATV showing some music video that was shot in Singapore.

Making a short stop at Malang Kotalama station. Note the really short platforms and shelter of this station.

Passing over Kampung Warna Warni Jodipan on approach to Malang railway station. Kampung Warna Warni Jodipan is a rejuvenated slum which is a project between a group of Public Relations students from Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM) and a paint company. You can read more about it here.

Arrived at Malang railway station 90 seconds late, after a journey of 904km.

The destination plate of the KA Gajayana.

Platform 1 of Malang Railway Station.

The distance to the key stations of the railway network from Malang.

Exiting the station to purchase my onward ticket to Surabaya later in the afternoon and to meet a friend whom I’ll be spending the next few hours trainspotting with.

And to spare you the agony of going through my trainspotting pictures, I won’t be writing a blog post about it. You’re welcome.

And yes, I did nothing touristy in Malang. My stopover was purely for trainspotting.

Next post: Day 4: Purchasing Train Tickets at the Go Show Counter

PT KAI Train Ticket Booking Methods
For Eksekutif, Bisnis and Ekonomi AC only. All other tickets are only sold at stations where the train serves.

  • PT KAI counters
  • Online from PT KAI‘s ticketing website but foreign credit cards do not work
  • Online from – foreign credit cards accepted

Tickets are open for sale 30 to 90 days before departure, depending on train service.

Hotel Booking

Attractions Booking

  • Klook (Get FREE $4.30*/RM12.90* voucher for your first purchase when you sign up here! *subject to exchange rate)


  1. I recommend you to buy a “Solaria”,”D-cost”,or “Pringsewu” menus than reska made. That’s more tasty.

    The old Gajayana trainsets (K1-09) is more better than K1-17,has automatic gangway door and better footrest

  2. For more jnformation, the old Nasi Goreng Parahyangan is still rolling out, as on May 11 2017, limited old version of this friend rice is available on KA 407 Kaligung (Semarang – Brebes). Wish you had luck on the next trip, and i hope you will try the old good looking Nasi Goreng ^^

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