The International Steam Pages
A Month in Java, 1976 Part 3
These pages are a sentimental record of a long gone age when all that was needed to enjoy a good grice was a smile, a lot of patience and a willingness to put up with a small amount of discomfort...
Part 3: Madiun to Blitar (including Kertosono, Kediri, Pare and Tulungagung)
16th May 1976
It was time to move on from Madiun, but first I wanted to see something of Pagottan's Luttermöller 0-10-0s - in my ignorance I had no idea of their end axle articulation, I think I considered them strange, large 2-6-2s and as I didn't see one move let alone slip only the identically sized wheels were an indication that things were not 'normal'; it was a little understandable as I don't think we ever had such creatures in the UK. I found 7 on the roadside south of the mill on the opposite side of the road to the Ponorogo branch.
I am reasonably certain that this was the day that I disappeared down to the river bed to photograph B5001 on the highest of the branch's bridges:
Later I saw B5012 leave at 11.00.
I had some way to get to Kediri but on the edge of town I popped into the sugar mill at Rejoagung. The sun was high but most of the fleet seemed to be present, not least because many were no longer needed.
At Kediri, my only photographic success seemed to be with C2843 doing some shunting and then going south on the afternoon Dhoho Express from Surabaya to Blitar via Kertosono.
I may have missed the Pare train or more likely it was running so late that there was no point in observing it. Anyway, I ended up in the Losmen Ris next to the station and ate a passable meal at the small Chinese restaurant on the corner of the station approach.
17th May 1976
My good luck continued next morning as the Pare service produced B1707 in brilliant early morning sunshine at 06.00.
Shortly after, C2843 approached on the morning Dhoho Express - I doubt many passengers from the 'tram' were making the connection. The B17 would do very little before returning in the afternoon, and the C28 gave me a pleasant enough ride, I got a static shot at Papar and left the train at Kertosono.
It had certainly been D52 hauled onwards at one stage but I suspect it was diesel hauled on this day, certainly C2843 went no further. Kertosono was still host to a long line of rusty redundant C53s at the end of the shed yard, but also (oily rag) shiny C1113 as station pilot.
A decided bonus was F1004 simmering outside the shed, another 'new' Java class although we had seen an example working in West Sumatra in 1975.
There was no time to waste, I needed to visit Pare to inspect the contents of the shed there. This always had an eclectic mix, there was rarely more than one loco of any class in residence except for the very ordinary C26 0-6-0T. My main targets were B1503 and unique B2301 and B2601 which were duly hauled out of the shed for me by the co-operative foreman. In 1977 I got B1503 working and I had to wait another year after that to see B2301 in action (on request on both occasions to replace C2606 and B1706 respectively) but I never did get to see B2601 in steam.
My rush back to Kediri was hardly needed, the B17 could not depart because the oil tankers it was supposed to trip to the Pertamina depot had shown no sign of arriving. By the time they did and had been dispatched, the afternoon sun was very low as B1707 finally set out down the branch, I managed one well lit shot after the sugar mill at Pesantren and again watering before spending the next few kilometres shooting the train in the gloom as it departed from unsigned halts and leaping back aboard.
The paucity of any kind of transport on the adjacent road ensured that I left the train long before it got to its destination to be sure of getting a colt back to Kediri before dark - after which there would have been no service at all.
18th May 1976
It had been a good spell at Kediri, but there was plenty more to see. I again saw the B17 arrive in Kediri, but there was no sign of the Dhoho and my next overnight was planned for Malang, going the long way round via Blitar so I can could check out this area in daylight. When I got off the bus in Tulungagung I found the station area was a hive of activity. D52071 was brewing up on the local to Kertosono and C2843 was emitting a huge pall of black smoke on the late running northbound Dhoho. Best of all, B1904 was shunting before working as pumping engine in exactly the same spot as Dusty Durrant had shown it in Power Parade. So yet another new class in steam was chalked up.
After the two trains had left all was quiet so I quickly moved on to Blitar where not much was happening. However, I did find F1019 outside the shed but the line on to Malang which it once worked was confirmed 100% diesel. A visit to the shed office revealed that C2843 not too surprisingly would have to be replaced the next day, the alternative power being F1005 and this brought an immediate change of plan! With half a day to fill, another bus brought me to Malang where there was time only to confirm that the D11 were still active. Sometime today, I leapt off a bus to photograph a Kebonagung sugar mill loco passing by:
To complete a very long day, I returned by bus to Blitar where I not only arrived in the dark, I was faced with getting up to catch the Dhoho at 04.00.