The International Steam Pages

Indonesia 1977, Part 5 The Surabaya Steam Tram

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:

Java had so many highlights, it would have been very difficult to pick a 'number one'. However, the last urban steam tram in the world in Surabaya would have been many people's choice. By 2nd August 1977,when all these pictures were taken,  there were no more B12s up to the job:

Instead, a B16 was in use, numbered way out of sequence from the rest of the class as it was off on the Japanese wartime railway from Saketi when renumbering was carried out, it should have been B1613 but maybe someone was a bit superstitious and it became B1624 instead, seen here outside the shed at Wonokromo:

Derek's journey started at the adjacent station of Wonokromo Kota which doubled as a market as by now the tram ran just once or twice a day:

The first part of the journey through the suburbs was double track on a central reservation - the return working would use the other line to maintain the right of way:

However, once Surabaya Kota station was reached (white building in the background), it became a single track as it had to thread its way through Chinatown. But first paper and bottles for recycling would have to be emptied:

The rest of the journey was perilous indeed, round the next corner might be a large truck blocking the tram's path and it had very little in the way of brakes:

The current terminus at Ujung was previously just a passing loop and the folk in the market were very well established. Having battled its way in and then back down the loop, B1624 now somehow has to reverse on to its train:

Without blinking, the good ladies re-occupied their territory and would only vacate it once the train had already started to inch forward:

They obviously knew that the tram's days were numbered, within a few months it had run its last journey...

Click here for Part 6 - Teakwood Steam

Rob Dickinson