The International Steam Pages

Those were the days... Sumberharjo Sugar Mill

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Sumberharjo has the honour of being the last remaining mill in Central Java where steam works regularly in the fields, albeit much of that activity is nocturnal, indeed I have only ever seen two daylight cane trains here. Which means that this page needs to be illustrated by anything but cane trains.

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My first visit to Sumberharjo was on 12th June 1978, in those days there was no choice but to take a long distance (ca 1 hour!) becak from Pemalang. We were delighted to find the mill's rare bird in steam in the yard, the unique (for Java) Alco 0-8-0T #5.

Sumberharjo regularly ran both mud and ash trains in mid-morning using their smaller locomotives. For many years the regular performer on one of these would be the mill's smallest locomotive Borsig 0-4-2T #1 as seen on the mud train on 6th August 1988. Behind, again is Gunung Slamet watching over the action, if you look carefully you will see it is a 100% crap shot.

Unusually Jung 0-4-4-0T #12 is facing away from the mill as it heads west with an ash train on 12th August 1991. It has not worked for a long time...

#1 was working the ash train through the weighbridge on 28th July 1994. I never saw it with a tender, the bagasse was always piled high, the crew must have been happier when a lack of cane meant the locomotive had to burn wood...

There was some brief kind of aberration when the mill decided to repaint its locomotives yellow, the quality of the finish was so poor that the original livery was clearly visible underneath. DB 0-8-0T #9 is moving some of the overnight deliveries up the yard on 1st August 1996. Mercifully within a few years a more practical green livery was re-adopted.

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

Rob Dickinson