The International Steam Pages

Those were the days... Colomadu Sugar Mill

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Colomadu closed at the end of the 1997 season although steam finished here at the end of the 1991 season when the field lines were abandoned. Head-quarters had been trying to close it for years as its fields had vanished under housing as Solo expanded, but had been thwarted by the local Sunan (Sultan) whose ancestors had built the mill in the first place. It was unusual in having locomotives of two gauges dating from the time its own system (750mm) was merged with that of Karta Sura mill (700mm).

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My first visit to Colomadu was on 23rd May 1979 and Borsig 0-4-2T #3 was yard pilot. Not long after it was taken out of service and after over 20 years in store (!) it was removed to Tasik Madu mill where it now works the tourist trains. 

On the afternoon of 21st August 1986, I was on a bus coming out to the mill from Kartasura when I spotted a loaded train with OK 0-8-0T #2 coming though a cleared cane field. A rapid sprint resulted in a couple of extremely rare shots of one of the 700mm gauge locomotives at work in the fields.

On 27th July 1988, for the first time I had a car at my disposal, which I left at the mill. I rode out on OK 0-8-0T #4 which was unusual in that it had inside frames and hence was not fitted with Klien-Lindner axles.

With my own transport to return to town, I could afford to relax and enjoy watching the sun go down with Gunung Merapi (left) and Gunung Merbabu (right) in full view. Even if the trains were still running, it would be extremely difficult to repeat the shot as the air pollution in this part of the island normally restricts visibility. 

The last time I saw working steam here was on 19th August 1991, when Henschel 0-8-0T #7 worked a train of empties out to the west and then north. The flags are out, not for my visit but for Independence Day a couple of days earlier. 

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

Rob Dickinson