The International Steam Pages

Those were the days... Merican Sugar Mill

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At the time of writing, steam (with the help of tractors) still works the yard at Merican but how for how much longer is open to question. For that reason, there are none of the famous Merican night shots of fireworks here, I have dozens of them of course. The field lines here closed many years ago and I wish I had had more time to explore them...

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In 1978, I spent several days in the Kediri area to get a variety of power on the Kediri to Pare tram and after the morning arrival there was plenty of time for a preliminary look at the nearby sugar mills. OK 0-4-2T #3 was the yard pilot at Merican on 1st June 1978.

On 3rd June, I went out with the empties on OK 0-4-2T #5; when it came back in the late morning I headed for Pare station where I had arranged for B2301 to head the afternoon tram - in those wonderful long gone days, such a thing was all done 'for love'.

Allen valve gear OK 0-8-0T #1 somehow escaped me in 1978 but by 20th August 1983 it was buried in the shed and never ran again.

Outside on the same day, larger OK 0-8-0T #7 was working the yard. It lasted another 20 years or so but has now been withdrawn from service. 

Traditionally, Merican's production sugar went out in box vans across a small bridge over the River Brantas where the tracks can still be seen. Amazingly, the vans still exist and are used to carry sugar from the mill to the warehouse. On 10th August 1996, with Lie Tjeng Chiao, I arranged to recreate this train while it was still possible. It involved reinstating a small section of track and inevitably when we tried to reunite steam locomotive and vans, the latter derailed. Just before the sun vanished behind the clouds we had a couple of minutes of total "photter's joy".

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

Rob Dickinson