The International Steam Pages


Those were the days... Jatiwangi Sugar Mill

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Jatiwangi was the second westernmost of all Java's sugar mills, just a few kilometres east of Kadhipaten. After years of declining activity, after the 1996 season, the field lines were closed and it was used briefly to refine imported raw sugar. The mill has subsequently been demolished and all the locomotives scrapped:


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The geometry of the Jatiwangi system made it difficult to include Gunung Cireme in photographs - especially as loaded trains were largely nocturnal. OK 0-8-0T #4 is at the far end of the storage yard on a particularly clear morning, 31st July 1988.

Unlike Kadhipaten, Jatiwangi's trains ran late in the day. In fact the only 'daylight' cane train I saw here was this double header in the half light with VIW 0-6-0T #2 and OK 0-8-0T #5 in late July 1993. Within a few minutes of departure the sparks from the bagasse were visible against the darkening sky.

This is #5 in action again on 31st August 1995 returning to the mill in mid-morning with the ash train empties. The second wagon has derailed and the train stopped immediately it had crossed the bridge giving another photographic opportunity.

Later the same day Lie Tjeng Chiao and I arranged with the mill to go out with VIW 0-6-0T #3 in the hope that we might get a loaded train a little earlier than usual. Unfortunately the tractor driver allocated to the job of bringing up the fulls on the temporary track was moonlighting for a local farmer so we were fortunate that #3 had to do some shunting with a set of empties on the way. When the tractor finally turned up, in his eagerness to please, the driver tried to pull too many fulls at one time and they came off on a right angled bend masquerading as a curve. Such photographic failures were extremely common in those days.

A year later to the day, 31st August 1996 and the season is over already. Commendably the staff have stripped down the locomotives to prepare them for the next season. Alas, they never worked again....


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


Rob Dickinson

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