Getting to Know 'Ijo', the Fifth Longest Tunnel in Java, Built 135 Years Ago

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Editor

Laila Afifa

30 December 2022 21:53 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Ijo Tunnel is a train tunnel located 347 meters east of Ijo Station, specifically in Bumiagung Village, Rowokele District, Kebumen Regency. The tunnel stretches 580 meters long through the limestone hills of Mount Malang, located between Ijo Station and Gombong Station at kilometre 425 +120. Until now, the tunnel is the fifth longest active tunnel in Java.

This tunnel is often passed by long-distance trains from west to east or vice versa. The Ijo Tunnel was also used as a filming location for 'Kereta Api Terakhir' and 'Daun di Atas Bantal', as reported in 'Kereta Api' magazine.

The Ijo Tunnel was built from 1885 to 1886 by the state railway company Staatsspoorwegen (SS). The construction of this tunnel is part of the Yogyakarta-Cilacap railway line construction project with a length of 184.8 kilometers.

The technical construction of this tunnel is carried out by digging the ground on each side in the west-end and east-end of the tunnel mouth simultaneously. The method is the same as the construction of the Lampegan Tunnel on the Bogor-Cianjur route. By July 20, 1887, the Ijo Tunnel was opened to the public along with the inauguration of the Yogyakarta-Cilacap railway line. 

In the beginning, the Ijo Tunnel was constructed for passenger and transportation of export commodities, such as sugar, coffee, and indigo in Yogyakarta, Kedu and Banyumas. Other than that, the tunnel is also used as a place to transport daily agricultural products. Later, the results of these commodities are brought to the Port of Cilacap to be shipped to Europe.  

Currently, the Ijo Tunnel is under the auspices of Operational Area V Purwokerto and is guarded by tunnel guard officers (PJTW). This tunnel is often passed by long-distance trains that travel south and become a place for railfans (railway lovers) who hunt trains in and out of the tunnel, as reported by p2k.unkris.ac.id.

According to heritage.kai.id, the government is building a new tunnel north of the Ijo Tunnel. The new tunnel has a length of 600 meters and is going to be built side by side with the Ijo Tunnel. The construction is part of the Java Southern Cross Double Rail Project.

Behind its long history, the tunnel also has a myriad of mystical stories. The most frequent mystical event in this tunnel is the appearance of spirits, especially the appearance of flying coffins or what the Javanese call lampor. Many train drivers claim to have seen a sighting of lampor when entering the Ijo Tunnel.

Even though the Ijo Tunnel is frequently passed by a long-distance train of Jakarta-Yogyakarta, the tunnel is being decommissioned due to the enactment of the double-track rail system, the old tunnel remained to be maintained.

RACHEL FARAHDIBA REGAR

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