A collision on Tuesday between a pick-up truck, which was carrying 19 passengers, and an Argo Dwipangga train serving the Jakarta-Surakarta route on a railway crossing in Jengkok subdistrict, Kertasmaya, Indramayu regency, West Java, killed 13 people and severely injured nine others.
Indramayu Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Wahyu Bintono said the car, which had begun its journey at the Pondok Gede haj dormitory in Jakarta, had been hit as the crossing was not guarded.
"The railway crossing is not equipped with cross bars but it does have flashing lights that were on when the incident occurred," Wahyu said, adding that a similar accident had occurred in the same spot in 2008.
All the deceased and injured passengers were taken to the local Zam Islamic hospital.
State-owned railway company PT Kereta Api Operational Region (Daop) III Cirebon's spokesperson, Eko Budianto, said that the provision of cross bars on railway crossings was the responsibility of the Transportation Ministry.
He quoted Law No. 23/2007 on the railway as his legal argument. "Based on the law, every party under the ministry is obliged to implement the regulation," Eko said.
Eko said that under the working area of PT Kereta Api Daop III Cirebon, there were 206 railway crossings. Of them, however, only 68 were guarded by company officers or the Indramayu Transportation Agency. The remaining 127 were unguarded.
Eko also said that in addition to the 206 official crossings, there were also 11 illegal crossings. The railway company, according to Eko, did not have the ability to provide cross bars for every crossing in its jurisdiction.
"We are throwing responsibility backward and forward here but everything is clearly regulated," Eko said.
He expressed concern over the recent accident but said that the company could do nothing about it as everything was under the authority of the insurance company PT Jasa Raharja.
Eko also said the accident did not disturb the train schedule and the locomotive engineer of the Argo Dwipangga train had to undergo an examination at the nearest railway station.
Train collisions, such as this, occur too often across Java. In March, 2012, 11 people died, while three others were critical injured, after a train slammed into a minibus at an unguarded train crossing in Tasikmalaya, West Java.