The Sri Lelawangsa is Medan’s only commuter rail service linking the towns of Medan and Binjai, with no intermediate stops. 12 pairs of trains run daily with an average frequency of 90 minutes. For this trip, I was targeting mainly to ride on the KRDI on this service, but unfortunately, it was not available on that day.
Heading into Medan Railway Station to buy my ticket.
The timetable of the Sri Lelawangsa. Click on the image to enlarge.
Heading to the ticket counter to purchase my ticket.
Sri Lelawangsa tickets are sold at Go Show counters only, and are sold only for the next departing train.
My ticket for the Sri Lelawangsa U72 train departing Medan at 12.30pm. Tickets for the Sri Lelawangsa go for Rp.5,000 (~S$0.48) for the 20.9km journey.
Heading to get my ticket checked for my Sri Lelawangsa. No identification needs to be produced for local trains.
Instead of the KRDI, a regular Ekonomi Class rake was sitting at Platform 1 taking passengers bound for Binjai. Oh well.
This rake is formed by the Putri Deli Pagi rake which is supposed to rest at Medan.
The original KRDI Sri Lelawangsa is sitting out of service in the locomotive depot.
The Sri Lelawangsa (Feeder Putri Deli) at Medan Railway Station.
The Sri Lelawangsa U69 arriving into Medan Railway Station from Binjai, hauled by a BB302.
The incoming Sri Lelawangsa U69 is formed of Bisnis Class coaches only, making it probably, unintentionally, the highest-class local train in Indonesia.
This Sri Lelawangsa (Feeder Sri Bilah) rake is formed of Bisnis Class coaches from a Sri Bilah rake.
The two hopefully temporary feeder rakes of Sri Lelawangsa.
The same locomotive, BB 302 70 44, went around and came back onto Platofrm 1 to attach to my Ekonomi Class rake.
Once the coupling was done, the train was ready for departure.
The interior of the Ekonomi Class of the Sri Lelawangsa (Feeder Putri Deli). This coach comes with air-conditioning and toilets, just like a regular Ekonomi Class coach, but it isn’t what I want. I would rather take the original KRDI with hard plastic seats, no toilets and no air-conditioning so the windows run open.
The typical view on the way to Binjai. The line runs extremely straight an exact east-west direction.
Disembarking from the Sri Lelawangsa at Binjai.
The Sri Lelawangsa at Binjai, getting the locomotive decoupled to run around to the other end of the train to head back to Medan.
The disused railway from here on used to continue on to Besitang, but is now being rehabilitated for onward services again, hopefully by this year (2019).
Now, the locomotive just heads to a short mainline “headshunt” after the last point to turn back around to the other end of the train.
Proceeding to exit the station.
The station sign of Binjai.
Connecting to onward transportation is easy at Binjai, though if you’re transferring to a plane rather than a bus or angkot, you might want to head back via Medan instead.
The very colonial Dutch exterior of Binjai Railway Station.
Overall, the Sri Lelawangsa is a basic but cheap and efficient way to get between Medan and Binjai. I really wished that I got on the original KRDI though. I hope the KRDI simply broke down and is waiting for repairs rather than the worrying trend of PT KAI refurbishing unique old trains to modern trains which are either for non-revenue purposes or really expensive to ride on.