The International Steam Pages

Those were the days... Gondang Baru Sugar Mill

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While the interior of Gondang remains a monument to 19th and early 20th century engineering to this day, the field lines here closed at the end of the 1998 season. Wile they lasted, they provided the most consistent daylight operation in the whole of Java, I never failed to see at least one train working here on all my many visits.

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I first visited Gondang in May 1979. Such was my haste that I declined the offer to see 'their very old engine' - I assumed it was of the stationary variety. I finally got to see cape gauge OK 0-4-0Tr "Simbah" at work on 23rd August 1984.

Gondang Baru's other rarities were two Linke Hoffman 0-8-0T. #1 was withdrawn soon after I started visiting, here it hustles along a train on the south line on 24th August 1986.

On the other hand #2 was a consistent (and very noisy) performer right up to the end of steam. Here it breaks cover and dashes past a field of rice ready for harvesting south of the mill on 4th August 1984 - a birthday treat for me!

The other three members of the original fleet were all OK 0-8-0Ts. #3 is seen very close to where #1 was photographed above while the ducks look for grubs in a padi field which has just been flooded after the harvest.

Also on the south line was #4 on 25th August 1986 - Gondang was so good for action, it was always worth at least two or three days every bash.

Independence Day, 17th August 1994, was especially memorable as I managed to photograph all five active members of the fleet in action on the same day. This was #5 in action on the east line.

OK 0-8-0T former Kalibagor 6 was a welcome addition to the fleet but it had too low a water capacity to be much use. Here if prepares to take out the mill's mud train on 17th August 1994

Another even later recruit was OK 0-8-0T Rendeng 8, here it rushes a train along near Gantiwarno south of the mill on 3rd August 1996.

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

Rob Dickinson