The International Steam Pages


Indonesia 1977, Part 3 The Mecca that was Madiun

Derek Huntriss had what he describes as 'his best ever trip' to Indonesia in 1977. You may like to compare what he saw with what I saw a year earlier in Java although he had less time available and also went to West and Norrth Sumatra. He and companion John Hunt very loosely attached to the Dorridge Travel Group which t hey used for cheap flights, the special train at Ambarawa and also to chase the train between Kediri and Pare. As you will see, he took every opportunity to do a bit of 'riding on the loco'.. I believe these pages will be of special interest to Indonesian enthusiasts who will be very grateful to Derek for making these pictures available. If you are one of them, please respect his copyright and thereby ensure that further such pages will appear from time to time. The "I" in the captions refers to webmaster RD who has actually written most of the captions after reference to Derek - a real role reversal as Derek has often done the same job for a number of books he has helped produce.

See also the other parts:


Derek and companion John Hunt travelled overnight eastwards to Madiun arriving on 30th July 1977. Almost the first thing they photographed was B5307 being loaded up for a working on the Ponorogo branch, the light was excellent, that's Mount Lawu behind:

If they were honest, they would probably admit that their main target was a working B50 2-4-0 like B5010 behind, the D52 setting off in the background towards Solo could safely be ignored:

After a visit to Madiun works they travelled further east with the group to Kediri. They then returned to Madiun and stayed there long enough to see the 4-4-0 out on the line twice. On 1st August 1977, B5307 takes the east to south curve after the town centre and heads out of town with empty molasses tankers for the sugar mills at Kanigoro and Pagottan: .

They were able to rejoin the train for the return trip through the street, 'King Kong' is an understandable cinematic attraction but quite why there should be sufficient demand for 'The Bible' in an island which is predominantly Muslim is a mystery. Such cab rooftop riding came into the category of 'dangerous' as there were many low hanging cables which would normally have only just cleared the train.

The previous day, 1st August 1977, B5307 went through to Ponorogo with a set of ballast wagons This shows the train passing the set of traffic lights that marks the centre of Madiun, the rear of the train is passing the spot where incoming passenger trains would stop briefly so that fruit and vegetables could be unloaded for the large market which is obscured by the train:

As before the train was flying, there was dust everywhere, I guess they were out to impress the photographers. However, it's never a good idea to thrash a wood burner as it soon runs out of steam. In this case, it was a couple of hundred metres down the road and the travellers were able to amble down and board. One of them was a regular fireman on a UK preserved railway and quickly showed the crew how it ought to be done...

Thereafter, steady progress was maintained almost as far as Slahung, where the loco again temporarily expired. The children are probably begging logs to be used for cooking at home. Footplate travellers regularly found crews collecting bank notes instead of tokens as trains passed and throwing off the appropriate number of logs in return.

The B53s were banned south of Ponorogo and hence B5007 was in charge for the second part of the journey to Slahung. There was no turntable at Slahung and the water column was at the safe limit of the line, so the train was worked tender first. The late afternoon sun picked out the spindly drivers as the train neared the terminus: 

The hills in the background were no threat to the old lady, the branch finished long before any steep climb was needed:


Click here for Part 4 - Kretek Country.


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk