Sejarah dan Perkembangan N.V. Nederlands(ch)-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij: Mengulas Perusahaan Kereta Api di Hindia Belanda

Dipublikasikan oleh Dimas Dani Zaini

08 Mei 2024, 08.24

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N.V. Nederlands(ch)-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (or PT Perusahaan Kereta Api Hindia Belanda Tbk) was a railway company in the Dutch East Indies. It was commonly known as NIS, NISM, or N.V. NISM. Initially, the company operated railway services in the Central Java region, including Surakarta Hadiningrat (now Surakarta) and Jogja. It also served Batavia (now Jakarta) and Buitenzorg (Bogor). Its main competitor was Staatsspoorwegen, established by the Dutch East Indies colonial government.

The headquarters of NIS was located in Semarang, which is now known as Lawang Sewu. In 2009, the building underwent renovation. NIS also had an office in The Hague, the Netherlands (now the Embassy of South Africa).

The history of NIS dates back to 1842 when proposals for building railways in Java were first put forward. On June 17, 1864, Governor-General van de Beele took the first step in constructing the first railway line in the colony.

The company was established on August 27, 1863. Prior to that, on August 28, 1862, the Dutch East Indies government granted a concession to W. Poolman, Alex Frazer, and E.H. Kol, who were also the founders of the company, to build a railway line from Semarang to Yogyakarta.

The first mainline was opened on August 10, 1867, between Semarang and Tanggung, spanning a distance of 25 kilometers. The company's administrative headquarters were also established in Semarang (now Lawang Sewu), which was completed in 1907. By 1873, the railway line was fully operational.

Initially, the operations proved to be unprofitable, leading the company to approach the government for financial assistance to build the mainline extending 166 kilometers to Yogyakarta via Surakarta. Financial aid and dividend guarantees were provided on the condition that a feeder line was built along 111 kilometers to Ambawara, connecting the Kedungjati to the strategically important Fort Willem I (closed in 1977, now the Ambarawa Railway Museum). By 1870, 109 kilometers of the line had been constructed, and by 1917, a total of 206 kilometers were operational in standard gauge. Including branch lines (1067 mm), the total length of the railway was 419 kilometers.

The first narrow-gauge railway line of NIS stretched from the governor's office in Buitenzorg (now Bogor) to the capital city of Batavia (now Jakarta), spanning 56 kilometers, with branches in Master Cornelis (1 km) and Kleine Boom (2 km). After a two-year construction period, the line was opened on January 31, 1873, and quickly proved to be profitable. However, the short urban line to Kleine Boom was abandoned in 1872 as it had no connection to the NIS network. On November 1, 1913, the line from Bogor was sold to Staatsspoorwegen (SS). By the end of 1918, NIS had 57 locomotives, 35 passenger cars, 136 baggage cars, and 1,393 freight cars. There were nearly 23,000 train movements, covering a total distance of around 1.23 million kilometers. In 1917, almost 4 million passengers were transported, with 3.99 million of them in third class. By 1928, NIS had carried 13.8 million passengers.

The maintenance workshop for the railway was initially located in Semarang and was later moved to Yogyakarta around 1915 (now Balai Yasa Pengok). There was also a small workshop in Cepu.

By 1936, the secondary network had been extended to a length of 602 kilometers, while the two mainlines had a combined length of 863 kilometers. The company received compensation for the transit of trains operated by Staatsspoorwegen (SS) between Batavia and Surabaya. The Board of Directors (Raad van Beheer) was based in The Hague, while the Commité van Bestuur managed the business in the colony. By the end of 1937, there were 37 employees in senior positions, 274 in middle positions, and 3,557 in ordinary positions.

With the outbreak of World War II, orders for diesel-electric railcars from Beijnes had to be canceled. Similarly, high-performance steam locomotives ordered from Werkspoor could not be delivered after the Dutch occupation in June 1940. For strategic reasons, the Solo-Gundih line was given a third rail to allow narrow-gauge locomotives to operate from Semarang to Solo via GambringI apologize, but I don't have any information on the current status or activities of the N.V. Nederlands(ch)-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (NISM) as my knowledge cutoff is in September 2021. It's possible that the company no longer exists or has undergone significant changes since then. I recommend conducting an internet search or reaching out to relevant authorities or organizations to obtain the most up-to-date information on NISM.

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