KA Argo Bromo Anggrek 3: Surabaya Pasar Turi to Jakarta Gambir by Train

As my goal for this trip to Surabaya was mainly to try out the Luxury Sleeper Train, I got the next train back to Jakarta from here on Argo Bromo Anggrek 3. While I thought PT KAI would simply u-turn my previous rake around, it turns out that there is a separate rake for this train. Thankfully, the delay on my previous train was not that serious that I missed this connection back to Jakarta.

A trolley on display in the middle of the car park.

Heading to check-in for my train.

Looks like every seat on my train is sold out.

Heading to one of many CIC kiosks around. I purchased my ticket through Tiket.com as usual since PT KAI does not accept foreign credit cards on their website.

After a quick keying in of my PNR, I printed out my boarding pass.

My boarding pass for the Argo Bromo Anggrek 3 back to Jakarta. I would have loved to get on the Argo Bromo Anggrek Luxury 3L, but that would have been too high of an expenditure for this short trip.

A separate entrance is available for Eksekutif trains.

The waiting area is air-conditioned, with ticket checking taking place just before entering the platform area. If you would not like to head out to the platform too early and enjoy the aircon first, do not proceed for ticket checking just yet.

However, the platform would be a better place for me. I headed to get my boarding pass checked.

Back at the platform area.

A rare find at the platform – the Komuter SuLam operated by the KRD MCW 302. Most MCW 302 sets have already been converted into modern non-revenue trains, while the newer KRDI AC replaces them on passenger services.

The destination sign of the Komuter SuLam.

Hopefully I’ll still be able to take this train one day, but with the rapid modernization speed of PT KAI, I have my doubts.

A marshaller walks the locomotive towards the rake to couple and form my train.

CC 206 13 28 of Purwokerto Locomotive Depot will be taking my train to Jakarta Gambir.

Heading to the rake.

Once the train is formed, the locomotive switches on the headlights and pulls the train to fit properly on the platform.

Once the train has stopped, announcements are made and the gates to the platform are opened for boarding.

My coach, Eksekutif 8, was the second last coach, just in front of the Luxury Sleeper Train.

Unfortunately, this was an unrefurbished variant of the K9 bogie, so I got an older type of seat.

The space I get on Eksekutif Class.

Pillows and blankets were laid out on every seat.

The legroom on Eksekutif Class.

The seat was surprisingly quite comfortable, even after just getting off from the Luxury Sleeper Train. However, I wish that the leg rest was movable to be kept and not rigid like this where I didn’t have a choice but to use it for the entire journey.

Power sockets and a side table was provided at the window seats.

The full train to Jakarta.

The safety video was played upon departure from Surabaya Pasar Turi Railway Station.

Shortly after departure, the conductor made his rounds to ensure everyone was in their seat, to check for identity cards of passengers who are concession tickets, and to check-through those who are holding split tickets and split seats for this journey due to the full capacity.

As this is an older coach, the toilets are of an older standard too. This is a gents-only toilet with only a urinal and a sink.

The other cubicle only features a squat toilet for both genders.

I headed to the restaurant car after the seat checking as I didn’t manage to get myself a proper dinner at Surabaya Pasar Turi.

The ordering counter on the restaurant car.

I wanted to order the Beef Steak but it wasn’t available again. As such, I decided on the “Train Chicken” due to the dish name which I’ve not heard of before.

I also requested for hot water to fill up my coffee cup which I got from the Luxury Sleeper Train. The kind Reska guy didn’t simply provide me with hot water, but took my cup and told me to have a seat while it prepares it properly, and served it to my table together with my Train Chicken.

The Specialty Coffee from the Luxury Sleeper Train tastes great, like smooth Bali coffee, especially when served drip coffee-style.

The packaging of the Train Chicken for Rp.33,000 (~S$3.19).

Hmm, regretting my decision now. This looks like a slightly bigger portion of my brunch on board the Luxury Sleeper Train, though there’s extra chilli and mayonnaise to go along with the fried chicken.

After this late dinner, I headed back to my seat to get some rest for the night.

I think I drifted in and out of sleep throughout the night, wasn’t able to get a proper rest since there would be announcements and passenger activity when the train stopped at Semarang Tawang and Cirebon. Having a seat neighbour beside me didn’t help.

The train arrived at Jakarta Gambir Railway Station at 5.13am – 13 minutes delayed from schedule.

Hmm, what is it with the Argo Bromo Anggrek and delays. Perhaps the lack of intermediate stations (and in turn buffer time) is to blame? Since every slow down on the journey would directly affect journey time with little room for recovery. (The Argo Bromo Anggrek 3’s 725km journey makes only 3 stops at Semarang Tawang, Cirebon and Jatinegara between Surabaya Pasar Turi and Gambir.)

Disembarking from the Argo Bromo Anggrek 3.

Heading down the platform to the concourse.

Heading down again to the exit.

The exit is only to the North Concourse of Gambir Railway Station.

Overall, a time-effective way to travel from Surabaya to Jakarta overnight, but not the most comfortable sleep I got with a fully booked Eksekutif Class train with 2+2 seating. With the time and hotel cost savings, I had my tiredness throughout the day in exchange.

Considering that many trains do run through the night, hopefully PT KAI will reintroduce actual sleeper berths one day, offering a true overnight sleeper train that passengers get proper rest in rather than just a super premium and expensive flatbed seat for 16 passengers a night.

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