The International Steam Pages

Those were the days... Gempolkerep Sugar Mill

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

Gempolkerep was always a large mill even before it was rebuilt in the 1970s. To put it politely, it has always been security conscious, a situation which continues today. Steam continued here in quantity for a long time, but in recent years the operation has been rationalised and most of the fleet sidelined. With a chance still to see steam at work in yard, I have a limited choice of images available within my ground rules, although since I drew up this page I have heard that there is no longer any steam active here.

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VIW 0-6-0T #3 was in the mill's original green livery when I first visited on 6th June 1978.

OK 0-4-4-0T #6 seen on 22nd August 1983 was formerly Merican #10. I never saw it working in its original home and it did not survive long here. By and large, with few exceptions like Luttermöller #4 from Lestari, latter day imports were not a great success.

While it is not impossible to see a steam locomotive handling one of the road yard workings, never again will three be lined up to work in the late afternoon as were OK 0-8-0T #11, 15 and 19 on 15th August 1994. Gempolkerep, to my knowledge, was one of the first mills (along with similarly named Gempol near Cirebon) to adopt cable haulage which allowed the train locomotive to avoid being trapped in a long storage siding. It also allowed the locomotive to by-pass the weighbridge.

#3 has a distinct OK look about it with a new cab, it was waiting to work the empties out from the mill on 15th August 1994.

Knowing that the empties ran only roughly every hour and a half and that the balloon loop meant that 50% of workings would be the 'wrong way', we left Kediri very early on 10th August 1996. We were rewarded by seeing OK 0-4-4-0T #5 in action within a few minutes of arrival - it had formerly been Mojopanggung 10.

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

Rob Dickinson