The International Steam Pages


Indonesia 1977, Part 13 North Sumatra

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 they 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:


The former Deli Railway in North Sumatra did not become part of the national system until 1957 and perhaps for this reason, its locomotives continued to carry their original numbers. All were tank locomotives and each type is shown below.  All pictures in this section were taken on 11th and 12th August 1977.

8, seen in Medan, started life as an 0-6-0T but had effectively become an 0-4-2T by the time the picture was taken. The creature of indeterminate gender on the footplate is probably male, I don't think I have ever seen a female on the footplate of an Indonesian steam locomotive except for members of my family.

Also in Medan, but on shed with the station behind, was 2-4-4T 22, this had started life as an 0-6-4T.

Perhaps, the most charming of the Deli locomotives were the 0-4-4T. 28 was photographed at Kisaran:

Most of the steam work on the system was done by these 2-6-4T. 35 was photographed at Tebing Tinggi:

By this time just one of the large 2-8-4T remained active and 48 was also based at Tebing Tinggi:::

This is the shed at Kisaran, 37 is a 2-6-4T and in the shed is 18, another 2-4-4T:

The most likely source of wood fuel would have been life expired rubber trees, there being extensive estates in this area as in West Malaysia on the opposite side of the Straits of Malacca. This was 35 at Tebing Tinggi with the distinctive roundhouse behind.

The final class of locomotive were the 2-4-2T. 66 was with a set of Pertamina oil tankers at Tebing Tinggi:

We conclude our visit to Indonesia in 1977 with this splendid picture of a 2-6-4T on a set of palm oil tankers. The trees on the right behind the train are those from which the oil fruits are harvested.


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk