The International Steam Pages

Those were the days... Ketanggungan Barat Sugar Mill

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Ketanggungan Barat was actually a former sugar mill, a collecting point for cane which was gathered normally in its estate and then sent overnight to Tersana Baru. These trains frequently ran late, sometimes very late and provided an excellent opportunity to photograph trains in the daylight.

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My first visit to Ketanggungan Barat was on 14th June 1978, the day after I had visited Tersana Baru where operations had been disrupted by a derailment. As such all trains were running many hours behind schedule. I was able to travel on no less than three loaded trains in turn and on the way I passed Maffei 0-8-0T #7 on some empties. At this stage although all the steam locomotives were burning oil every one was kept immaculately clean.

Here DB 0-8-0T #11 thrashes along in the late afternoon sun on the same day, behind is another train which I dropped off to photograph later!


By and large Ketanggungan Barat's steam locomotives worked only as far as the former mill at Luwung Gajah where there was a triangle and some servicing facilities. However, on occasions they worked all the way through to Tersana Baru. In August 1992, Hanomag 0-8-0T #10 is doing the full return journey, seen mid-morning passing a small bridge with Gunung Cireme behind. 

On 25th August 1994, larger Maffei 0-8-0T #6 was working the empties back near Luwung Gajah.

There were two large viaducts and several smaller bridges on the run - it was the failure of one of these after the 2001 season that ultimately led to the end of this service. Here DB 0-4-4-0T #5 crosses without disturbing the washerwoman on 27th July 1994.

On 30th July 1996, I dragged my old pal and first time Java visitor Tony Wardobe (and the rest of the tour group) out of bed some time before 05.00 and took them to a remote spot east of Luwung Gajah. The gamble was well rewarded as #5 came past just after dawn, closely followed by a second train.

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Rob Dickinson