The International Steam Pages

Those were the days... Cepiring Sugar Mill

Click here for the 'Those were the days' index page.

The old Cepiring mill closed at the end of the 1997 season although remarkably it has recently re-opened as a re-equipped state-of-the-art mill. This was yet another mill where the best chance to see trains in the field came with the inevitable foul ups that occur on an outdated system....

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My first visit to Cepiring was on 9th June 1978. We had called into the regional HQ in Semarang to get permission to go to their mills. To say that the hospitality for two ragged foreigners was overwhelming would understate the welcome. We had no option but to accept a ride in the company's Merc and a night in the guest house at Sragi... At Cepiring most of the steam locomotives were in the field but yard pilot Henschel 0-4-0T #6 posed for a mug shot.

One special feature at Cepiring was that the shed was connected to the main part of the railway by a turntable which exited at a right angle. On 9th August 1986, DB 0-8-0T #5 prepares to make its exit.

A timeless scene viewed from the office at the top of the weighbridge on the morning of  8th August 1988. OK 0-8-0T #1 is in the foreground with a diesel and two more steam locomotives fussing around in the yard.

On 23rd August 1994, an overnight cane train with OK 0-8-0T #1 derailed on the river bridge south of the mill. Wisely, staff waited till the following morning to clean up the mess...

OK 0-8-0T #8 was trapped behind and a few minutes after #1 restarted, it followed its sister engine home.

Cepiring's mud train is propelled out by DB 0-8-0T #5 on 27th August 1995, as a carbonatation mill, it would have produced more mud than the average mill which by then would have been using sulphitation for clarifying the raw juice.

Click here for the 'Those were the days' index page.

Rob Dickinson