The first railway line in Indonesia started operations in 1867. The railways were gradually expanded by both state and private railways.
The Japanese occupation and the Indonesian War of Independence left Indonesia's railways in a poor condition. A batch of 100 steam locomotives were ordered in 1950, and in 1953 the first mainline diesel-electric locomotive was purchased from the United States. Dieselisation continued apace, and by the 1980s most mainline services have been dieselised. Electric multiple units were also obtained from Japan beginning in the 1970s, replacing 60-year-old electric locomotives.
Since the independence era, all mainline railways in Indonesia have been managed by the government. The owners of the private railway were compensated first, but the system was fully nationalised in 1971.
Construction of new railway lines has been few and far between, and most new construction is concentrated on double- and quad-tracking of existing railway lines. Most of the former tramway lines have been closed, reducing the mileage from about 7000 km to only 3000 km.
|The platform of the first station of Nederlands-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (Dutch-Indies Railway Company) in Semarang.|
|Locomotive and train of the Dutch Indies Railway Company (Nederlands-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij), Java.|
|Stasiun Tugu - Yogyakarta|
|Stasiun Lempuyangan - Yogyakarta|
|Gondangdia - Jakarta|
|Stasiun Leles - Cianjur|
|Tanjung Balai - Sumatera|
|Cibadak - Priangan - Sukabumi|