The International Steam Pages

PNKA Wallahs Part 10

This page is part of a series of pages by Tony Ford describing the Perusahaan Negara Kereta Api ca 1970.

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The ex-Deli railway in North Sumatra, formally known as the NV Deli Spoorweg Maatschapij until 1958 operated independently from PNKA. The numbering system has not been brought into line with the general numbering system of PNKA and remains unchanged from the days of the DSM.

The first locomotive we see is a drawing of No 3 – I have yet to determine why there should be a different drawing of this locomotive in PNKA’s records – I can see little difference between this locomotive and others of its class, numbers 6, 8, 10, 13 and 14. Only no 14, built by Hohenzollern in 1890, rebuilt ex 0-6-0T to 0-4-2T survives, employed at Belawan docks on shunting duties. It appears to have been given a new boiler from Du Croo and Brauns in 1959. One of 14’s contemporaries is seen lying at Pulau Brajan works.

The next locomotives to receive our attention are nos 20 and 25. These now have a 2-4-4T wheel arrangement, rebuilt ex 0-6-4T. The PNKA drawings I have show minor differences in these Hartmann locomotives built between 1900 and 1902. Four of the original nine locomotives of this class survive.

Two 0-4-4T locomotives exist, no 1 seen dead in the Medan depot and no 28 seen here at Tandjungbalai. These Hohenzollern locomotives were built between 1903 and 1904.

Minor variations occur in the Werkspoor and Hartmann 2-6-4T numbered 31 to 44 and 51 to 59, built between 1914 and 1921.

No 48 is the sole survivor of the four 2-8-4T built in 1916 by Wekspoor. It is seen here refuelling at Perlanaan on 11 August 1971.

I believe six of the ten 2-4-2T locomotives numbered 60 to 69 are still serviceable and no 61 is seen here at Perlanaan. These locomotives were built between 1928 and 1929 by Hanomag.

C5411 is one of two survivors of the eight C54 class Werkspoor and Beyer Peacock 4-6-0 shipped from Java to Medan in 1963.

This is one of six new diesel locomotives recently brought into service in North Sumatra. One had, after about four months in service, been extensively damaged in a fire following a leaking fuel pipe.

Roundhouses I found, are not unique to Java – here is the depot at Tebing Tinggi.

Locomotives 30 (0-4-4T) and 56 (2-6-4T) were shipped off to Pekanbaru for use on the railway built by the Japanese during the Second World War to connect Pekanbaru with the West Sumatran system near Sawahlunto. As far as is known they still lie in the jungle somewhere not far from Pekanbaru after the Japanese ‘scuttled’ them.

In addition to the 3ft 6in gauge lines of the ex-DSM railway, a 60cm line connects the ballast quarry at Gunung Kataran with the main line. This line has three 0-6-0T locomotives in service from an original five. The adhesion track is broken by a rope incline used for hauling filled tubs up and returning empty tubs to the quarry.

 The first close ups we see are of no 105 built by Orenstein and Koppel of Berlin in 1923.

The second locomotive featured is no 106 built by Du Croo and Brains in 1926. Lying behind No 106 is no 109, also built by D&B three years later.

A 70cm line was built at Perlanaan to carry fuel from the forests to the railhead – this line has been abandoned. This locomotive seen lying here at the locomotive works at Pulau Brajan was one of locomotives 107 and 108 built by Du Croo and Brauns which worked the line before its closure. 


Perlanaan - narrow gauge. A 1973 visitor identified the 0-4-0T above as No 108, in fact all the other ex-DSM narrow gauge locomotives were 0-4-0T.

Rob Dickinson