The U43 KA Sribilah Pagi is a day train service running from Rantau Prapat to Medan departing Rantau Prapat daily at 7.20am and arriving in Medan at 1.15pm. It is also the only northbound train service which offers a full-daylight journey, with the other 3 trains crossing into sunset or running in nighttime.
Rantau Prapat is the southernmost station in Divre I.
The buffer at the end of the track past the station marks the end of the railway. Hopefully, this will one day be removed for the “planned” Trans-Sumatra railway line.
The gates separating the station compound to the end of the line.
I did my check-in at Rantau Prapat just before boarding the train.
This time, I tried scanning the code directly from my phone against the reader at the check-in counter.
Out comes my boarding pass.
My boarding pass for the trip back to Medan. I purchased a lower fare class Eksekutif ticket with a seat by the door to the gangway for this trip at Rp. 135,000, which was a Rp. 15,000 top-up from the single-fare-class Bisnis sold.
Getting my ticket checked before entering the platform.
A Roti’O outlet is available at the platform if you’d like some bread for the journey.
My Sribilah Eksekutif Coach 1, located just after the Kereta Makan Pembangkit 2. Despite holding a ticket with a similar coach number as my onward trip, the coaches on the train gets renumbered with the smaller number towards the front of the train. As such, the train’s coach numbers in formation are Bisnis 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, and Eksekutif 1, 2, and 3.
Luckily, this coach has a similar wide headrest as my onward trip, and not the older slimmer version.
As this particular Eksekutif coach seats 52 passengers – 2 more than usual – due to the non-existent single seat at the end of the cabin by the borders with it being replaced by a pair seat, and with the pair seat being labelled as a single seat instead, both on the online system and inside the train, I had these two seats to myself.
My buy-one-get-one-free 1C seat.
Unfortunately, almost all windows on this train are tinted, which doesn’t make for very nice photos.
On the other side though, the window isn’t tinted but it’s permanently misted up, possibly due to the air leaking into the vacuum between the window panels, so I’d take the tint over this.
The legroom available on Eksekutif class.
The interior over at Bisnis class.
As these are older coaches, only squat toilets are available on the train.
And since there isn’t much photos to take from the train thanks to the tinted windows, most following pictures are shot from the door when the train has stopped at the station.
Marbau Railway Station
Crossing with an oil tanker train at Padang Halaban Railway Station.
Padang Halaban Railway Station
Membang Muda Railway Station
Shortly after, food and drinks service commenced.
Only basic meals of Nasi Goreng or Crispy Chicken with Rice were available, with the usual selection of drinks.
My Nasi Goreng Ayam (with the chicken bits somewhere inside the rice) for Rp. 25,000 and Teh Botol for Rp. 6,000.
Aek Loba Railway Station
Pulu Raja Railway Station
Kisaran Railway Station
The train made a slightly longer stop on schedule at Kisaran station, probably for it to catch up on the timetable in case a few minutes were lost, but also probably because Kisaran is a bigger station and is the junction to Tanjung Balai, and they may expect more passengers.
Perlanaan Railway Station
A CC201 stabling at Perlanaan.
Approaching the junction to Siantar at Tebing Tinggi.
Tebing Tinggi Railway Station
A roundhouse for steam locomotives behind Tebing Tinggi Railway Station.
Departing from Tebing Tinggi.
Lubuk Pakam Railway Station
Lubuk Pakam is where you should stop to change to a taxi to get to Kuala Namu International Airport if you’re coming from the south as while it isn’t the closest station geographically, it is more populated than Araskabu, the road alignment gets you to the airport faster and there are actually taxis, Grabs or Go-Cars around.
However, I opted to be the typical me and continued on back to Medan to get the Railink to the airport.
Departing Lubuk Pakam.
Araskabu Railway Station
Taking a left curve after Araskabu.
Crossing with KA54 Putri Deli Sore at Batangkuis, headed by a BB203.
Despite it being classified as BB under the Bo-Bo bogie arrangement PT KAI locomotives, the BB203 has the look of a “Co-Co” bogie but has actually an idle axle in the middle, which actually makes it an A1A-A1A bogie arrangement instead.
Batangkuis Railway Station
Bandar Kalipah Railway Station
Crossing with a Railink to Kuala Namu International Airport at Bandar Kalipah Railway Station.
The future elevated railway in Medan taking flight on the left of the existing railway.
The face of the CC201 from the coach when its operating with the long hood forward.
Arriving at Medan.
The CC 201 04 04 back at Medan, after taking me safely to Rantau Prapat and back.
As the Sribilah Pagi’s length of 11 coaches excluding the baggage car and locomotive exceeded the platform, I got down by the coach’s steps onto the side of the tracks and walked back to the station. Definitely faster than walking through the coaches to the platform.
Once here, I used the escalator link up to the Medan City Railink Station to connect to the departing Railink to the airport to catch my flight back home.
Overall, despite being a fully-single track railway, both the previous Sribilah Malam and this Sribilah Pagi were spot on time according to the timetable, with crossings at designated station taking place like clockwork. While it may not be as good comfort-wise as compared to the trains on Java, the same standards definitely apply on Sumatra as well, which makes PT KAI a very reliable mode of transport in Indonesia.