The International Steam Pages


Stationary Steam in Asia

Rob Dickinson's 2010...
Temples of Steam Blog

Real Steam in West Bengal 2006
(FInal upload March 2014)

Dakhondaing
A Burmese Rice Mill
and its Village.
Released
26th March 2013
The Historic Sugar
Mills of Java

(10th December 2016)

Asia

China
(9th Feb 09)

India
(18th Sep 14)

Indonesia
(10th Dec 16)

Lebanaon
(4th May 16)

Malaysia
(20th Dec 16)

Myanmar
(12th Dec 10)

Philippines
(22nd Mar 13)

Russia
(14th Aug 14)

Sri Lanka
(12th Jun 11)

Thailand
(8th Mar 14)

Turkey
(18th May 16)

Vietnam
(10th Feb 05)

     

Click here for the International Stationary Steam Index

Click here for the Surviving Steam Road Engine Index


China

Even in 2009, China has active 'real' steam locomotives and these are very well documented. However, to my knowledge nothing in the stationary steam line has ever been reported here. In January 2009, I stumbled on two preserved duplex pumps at the Yunnan Railway Museum (9th February 2009), early 20th century relics of the Yunnan-Vietnam railway.

India

India was always going to be the best bet for variety in operational 21st century stationary steam. Unfortunately, it's quite a large country and there is a limit to what one impoverished couple can achieve on their own. It would be nice to have some help from all you sad, arm-chaired and slipper bound fellow enthusiasts, but your loss is our gain even there is every chance that many good things will be missed as a result. If you've never seen steam hammers at work, then maybe your life is less than complete. Certainly mine was, what do I mean? (25th February 2008) There is now a video clip available (2nd March 2008).

A few years back (2008) an over-boiler engine was offered for sale on http://www.smokstak.com but that site was blocked in China so I I never found it. Anyway, the engine is still available (29th April 2012), click here for some pictures and more information.

Not 'real' but preserved and well presented are a number of steam engines at the Digboi Centenary (Assam Oil Industry) Museum (updated with a full description of the museum 30th January 2013), less well conserved are some North Eastern Coalfields Relics (25th February 2008).

21st century appropriate technology (updated 23rd May 2014) - TinyTech Plants of India are now producing small stationary steam engines with boilers - the short report contains pictures and links (two more pictures added, 26th February 2008). If you are interested in such items, I have a list of their current products, with specifications and prices, as of August 2008 (21st August 2008). They have now sent me a press release (10th August 2010) to celebrate the inauguration of a small scale mustard oil mill in Jharkand state which also provides electricity for the local community. It's unlikely that anyone reading this will be passing by but I would love to see some pictures of it at work and the benefits it is bringing. 

Yuehong and I did a further bash into the unknown and the end of 2006. What did we find? Some wonderful engines at work and rest, just click here.
A video clip
of this first engine at work is now on the site (5th July 2007) and many more are being added in stages on my YouTube Channel (28th December 2013).

Thanks to Margaret Hacking and Chris Hodrien for forwarding pictures of old kit in Gadag, Karnataka (18th September 2014).

It is not impossible that some tea estates still use stationary engines or at the very least some are still present.

The ISRS Yahoo Newsgroup isrs-mail-subscribe@yahoogroups.com has been quite helpful. Harsh Vardhan circulated this information a few years back:

"You will find a lot of them if you visit any state owned sugar/paper/pulp mill in UP and Bihar. In fact during my work in India I found that a reciprocating steam engine is more commonly used in Indian sugar industry than a steam turbine or diesel generating set. Lawrence Marshall's Video, 'Indian Steam Sunset' also shows one of these engines at work."

To which I would add that many of the mills in UP and Bihar have not operated regularly for some years and when they did had a very short season (in the January/February/March period). Many are state owned and to visit them permission from the Bihar State Sugar Corporation in Patna, based in Boring Canal Road would be a good idea.

Mani added; "There was a steam engine (I think it was a Crossley) running a generator at the Wimco match factory at Clutterbuckgunj near Barielly. It should still be there as I had seen it 3 years back and it was in excellent condition."

Some 20 years ago, Geoffrey Hill wrote an article for the Bulletin of the International Stationary Steam Engine Society recording what he had seen in Indian sugar mills. No doubt much has now vanished, but it should provide a wonderful jumping off point for future visitors. Check it out (30th June 2006).

I visited a number of these mills in February 2004 (note added 8th April 2004). There are pictures available of Saraya Sugar Mill and also a list of equipment I found in other mills.

Indonesia

Rob Dickinson's 2010...
Steamy Java Sugar Mill Blog

Sweet Spot

Olean - Java's historic sugar mill :

For full details and how to order, click here.

Sweet Spot

Gula Java CD

A picture CD-ROM of historic sugar mills of Java

Gula Java CD

Gula Java DVDs

10 DVDs showing the historic 
sugar mills of Java at work

Gula Java DVDs

The Historic Sugar
Mills of Java

(10th December 2016)

In addition to my comprehensive reports below, please read Stefan Iseli's report of 2013 visits - http://www.drehscheibe-foren.de/foren/read.php?30,6657205 (added 26th November 2013). 

There are literally hundreds of stationary steam engines at work in Java's sugar mills during the season, use the links below to other pages on this site.

Gondang Sugar Mill (added 29th October 2002)

Olean Sugar Mill - a candidate for a World Heritage Site (updated 29th October 2002)

Steam Equipment in Javan Sugar Mills (a record of the equipment present, mostly still in use, updated 7th August 2010)

An introduction to Java's sugar mills and their stationary steam engines (added 29th October 2002)

As part of my steamy Java Tour blog, I included pictures of every mill visited, but the link pictures there are not very helpful. Instead you may want to use the mill names below (final update 2nd August 2010) - note there are extra (older, from 2002) pages for Gondang and Olean

An amazing survivor in Jakarta is a Dutch 1916 steam crane - read Chris Capewell's account (updated 21st October 2008 with (converted) Wilson hand cranes from the UK).

There are a number of portable engines and steam rollers 'preserved' in the country, these are now listed on the surviving road engine page.

Lebanon

Thomas Kautzor points out (4th May 2016) that there is surviving stationary steam at the railway workshops at Rayak:

http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/380/385/railways/branches/riyaq/20060104-riyak-railway-yards/images/20060104-161630.jpg 
http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/380/385/railways/branches/riyaq/20060104_Riyaq_Stock_Yards/images/20060104-162001.jpg 
http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/380/385/railways/branches/riyaq/20060104_Riyaq_Stock_Yards/images/20060104-162106.jpg 
http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/380/385/railways/branches/riyaq/20060104_Riyaq_Stock_Yards/images/20060104-162240.jpg 

Malaysia

These are three vertical Weir boiler water feed pumps at work recently at Southern Malay Palm Oil Mill in Simpang Renggam, Johor, picture is courtesy of Ng Keng Phoy (4th March 2012).

A visit to an oil palm mill in Lower Perak found two disused Weir vertical boiler feedwater pumps (20th December 2016)

Ross Ibbotson has sent me some pictures of an out of use stationary steam engine in East Malaysia - click here (21st June 2008). More information would be very welcome.

There are a number of portable engines 'preserved' in the country, these are now listed on the surviving road engine page (latest addition 20th December 2016).

Myanmar (Burma)

Chris Cairns has sent me pictures of an active steam roller near Lashio, Shan State, 11th December 2009.

There are hundreds of working stationary steam engines in the rice mills here, the first page is mainly technical and contains a list of known manufacturers with links to pictorial examples:

Temples of Steam - The Rice Mills of Burma, 7th November 2009.

Temples of Steam 2010, 12th December 2010.

Green to Gold, Rob and Yuehong in the Golden Land 2009, Part 2 - yet another voyage of discovery with many non-steam items, 7th November 2009.

Rob and Yuehong in the Golden Land 2009, Part 1 - yet another voyage of discovery with many non-steam items, 9th February 2009.

Temples of Steam 2007 - a further voyage of discovery, 26th February 2007.

Mohnyin's steam crane - mobile stationary steam, 26th February 2007.

Temples of Steam 2006 - a further voyage of discovery with updated builders' list etc, 10th February 2006, updated 26th April 2006.

Temples of Steam 2005 - completely revised and updated, 10th February 2006

The reports above contain links to more detailed information about stationary steam and travel in general in Myanmar. 

It is also likely that some tea estates use stationary engines - see this site http://www.greentea.net/tea_process.html.(link dead by 25th October 2016)

Temples of Steam DVDs
10 DVDs with more than 100 working stationary steam engines in Burma

Philippines

As I long suspected some sugar mills here still have stationary steam engines. Bernd Seiler's Far Rail group saw a couple of Corliss valve engines from Fulton Iron Works and Lima/Hamilton working at La Carlota Mill on Negros in early 2007. They are used as a back up for the main mill line which is steam turbine powered. There are also two steam powered Java pumps from 1919, but the steam engine vacuum pump was scrapped in 2005. Later on an independent visit separate from the tour, Thomas Kautzor saw a Skoda engine at C.A. Don Pedro, Nasugbu (Luzon). For some pictures of the engines at La Carlota, check the Far Rail February 2008 report (26th May 2008).

Thomas Kautzor recorded this unidentified portable engine (left) on display at Fort Santiago in Intramuros, the old Spanish city in Manila in 2007 (22nd March 2013).

Sri Lanka

It is likely that some tea estates use stationary engines - see this site http://www.greentea.net/tea_process.html

Fam Deelen has an Aveling and Porter steam roller which belonged to the Sri Lanka railway until ca 1983, he would very much appreciate pictures of it in the country preferably working. Incidentally a quick Google search shows that the UK is host to a Fowler roller and at least one other A&P (added 12th June 2011). James Waite and Thomas Kautzor were here on a visit in January 2010 and have provided a comprehensive survey of relics in Colombo which includes non-railway items such as a steam roller and steam lorries (last updated 26th January 2011).

Thailand

Temples of Steam DVDs
2 DVDs with working stationary steam engines in Thailand

Rob Berkavicius has made a survey of Thai rice mills in much the same way as I have tried to in Burma. There are quite a few steam powered mills and he has provided a tantalising glimpse. This was more than enough for me to decide instantly to book a trip here for late 2005. I found a brand new stationary steam engine and saw a wider range of machine types than I expected although they were all tandem compounds (both links added 14th December 2005). We got a bargain flight to Bangkok in February 2006 and came back earlier than planned for more. See far from the madding crowdThai stationary steam's last hurrah and more 21st century stationary steam engines in Thailand (all links added 9th March 2006).

Rob's one hour programme (from 2004-5) together with clips of seven individual mills have now appeared on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xThexQtaNCs - this is the 'main feature', it's easy to track down the other clips from it. Although it is clearly not current, it's a fascinating watch (29th January 2013).

Alas, like all nearly our voyages of discovery, these reports have provoked almost no response let alone others to 'boldly go' and add to them. An honourable exception is Jack Neville who has visited a mill near Sukhothai (10th May 2008). We went to the same mill and found one or two interesting little extras in the area (3rd March 2009).

As we (and others) have wandered around the country, it has become apparent that there is much preserved and extant steam kit, particularly steam rollers which tend to be monuments outside provincial highway departments. I prepared an initial list which has been added to over the years, further additions will be very welcome, I am sure it is woefully incomplete.

Michael Pass has found a magnificent Garrett portable near Ubon Ratchathani, read his illustrated report (8th March 2014).

It's history now in an operational sense, but a wonderful Davey-Paxman Lentz cross compound engine miraculously survives in Bangkok - after a glimpse though a hole in the corrugated iron in 2009, I got full access in December 2010 (15th December 2010).

Turkey

Not working steam but Chris Hodrien has let me use an account of preserved steam kit in Istanbul - the article originally appeared in the ISSES Bulletin in Autumn 2006. Thomas Kautzor was here in April 2016, and he has sent news and pictures of two extra exhibits, which have been added to the original report. (18th May 2016).

Vietnam

One of the rice mill owners I spoke with in Myanmar in 2005 had recently been here. He had seen 'one or two' steam powered rice mills although they were very much in the minority of those visited.


Rob  Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk