The International Steam Pages


Those were the days... De Maas Sugar Mill

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At the time of its closure at the end of the 1999 season, De Maas was the smallest and most antiquated mill in Java, a mantle it passed to Olean. Through the 1980s it had offered the small number of visitors who came here unparalleled opportunities to see small steam locomotives at work on cane trains. I had many happy afternoons on the road side between Besuki and Pasir Puteh.


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I first visited De Maas in May 1979 which was just too early for the season. I was briefly here with a tour group at the end of July 1984 and came back for more afterwards. This was the shed scene on the morning of 27th August.

One of the most appropriately named locomotives I have ever met was the mill's OK 0-4-2T #1 which was called 'Dodo'. Here it shuffles its short train alongside the main road to Bali on 26th August 1984.

The mill's OK 0-6-0T had a severe identity crisis in that its number alternated between #2 and #3. Nevertheless, it was their best locomotive by far and I had some cracking times with its regular driver Boediono. After the mill closed, he became a security guard at Asembagus and his locomotive followed him shortly afterwards. This picture was taken on 26th August 1988.

Another one of the mill's small locomotives was Maffei 0-4-0T #5, which is seen here racing an empty becak on 18th August 1990. The fact that the locomotives had to burn oil to develop any kind of power must have told against them because some small diesels were cascaded here shortly afterwards.

In the mid 1990s, OK 0-4-2T #4 was used for yard work, it had inherited the 'Dodo' nameplate. On 16th August 1996, I 'borrowed' it on behalf of my tour party to run up and down outside the mill. Now even such fun and games are no longer possible.


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


Rob Dickinson

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