Palembang Light Rail Transit System
Delivering a nation-first project is always an enormous undertaking. But when construction of the Palembang Light Rail Transit System (LRT) – the first of its kind in Indonesia – had to be accelerated to begin operations ahead of the Asian Games 2018, the challenge became even more complex.

SMEC was appointed in March 2017 to supervise construction of the Palembang LRT, on the back of our broad global portfolio and project experience in rail systems. The line connects the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport to the Jakabaring Sports Centre. It covers 23.4 kilometres of track and includes 13 stations, 9 substations and a depot.

A SMEC team of close to 100 people, including local and international specialists, were absorbed by the mammoth project for 27 months.

of track
substations and a depot

The challenge

Rather than the traditional process of undertaking feasibility studies followed by detailed design and construction, the project was delivered under a design and build contract. This posed some unique challenges, including developing the design based only on the design criteria, delays in procuring equipment and getting station access to land, delays in depot design and interfacing between stakeholders (utilities) and contractors during construction.

For example, most rail tracks in Indonesia use the narrow gauge (1067mm), while tracks in other countries commonly use the standard gauge (1435mm). On this project, a narrow gauge was applied in a fast-tracked design and build environment, presenting procurement challenges.

“Teamwork was essential to overcoming these issues and finding practical solutions. Our teams worked to ensure coordination and a shared vision between the suppliers, contractors, operators and all the stakeholders involved. This required effective communication – discussing issues as they arose, a willingness to listen and understand stakeholders’ motivations, and finding solutions based on consensus,” James Wijaya, Deputy Project Manager, explains.

“Drawing on the technical expertise of our global specialists, we held meticulous design meetings to interpret international standards and share knowledge that would help mitigate delays in design and testing.”
———— James Wijaya, Deputy Project Manager


International specialist experience in safety was also essentialin relation to the use of a third rail – a first for Indonesia – to power the train sets due to their high voltage and being located above ground. Our technical team embedded safety into construction methods, railway systems testing, sitesupervision and all meetings. SMEC provided the interface, limited integration and rail system experts to supervise railway testing, a key phase in the LRT becoming operational.



Talk to one of our specialists about our role on Palembang Light Rail Transit System.