The International Steam Pages


Case Notes - Steam in Indonesia in the 1980s, Part 1
West Java 1982/1983

Terry Case writes about his travels for steam. Further tales will follow from time to time covering more of Australia, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Click here for the Case Notes Index.


This site is home to photographs of Indonesia and Thailand taken in the 1970s when many varied classes were to be found at work. In 1973 the Association of Railway Enthusiasts organized a tour there, at the time I was a university student with no money. Ten years later I was photographing the end of PNKA steam workings, a rewarding experience. 

In August 1983 steam was clinging to a few duties in Java. I travelled from Bandung on the 09.00 to Cianjur on the line to Bogor. I hoped to ride a D14 on the branch mixed to Sukambumi , possibly the last line working for this class. In the shed yard D1411 was being steamed up, it was the last remaining D14 here capable of use, two other examples were dumped in the shed.

All seemed set for the afternoon departure so I went for a wander around the town. Returning to the shed I was disappointed to find D1411 was not going to be needed; instead a 1964 built Krupp hydraulic had arrived from Bandung with a single van and collected a carriage to form the 13.30 departure to Sukambumi. By 1983 the hydraulics rarely saw mainline use and were displaced to menial duties such as this mixed. It seemed this final line duty for D14 class was now in jeopardy. I spent some time watching the engine totter around the yard, a relaxed day for the crew! Another D14 remained in use at Purwakarta yard together with D52s.

A year previously I had spent a week in Java and saw steam working from a number of locations, the Cibatu Mallets were number one on my list to ride. The Malletís motion is under observation by me and the kids! Garut August 1982.

In August 1982 the volcano Gunung Galunggung was spewing ash in the Garut area and east of Bandung. Getting a shot with a blue sky was a challenge and instead of the expected lush green vegetation, I saw a layer of ash over almost everything. The timetable showed 3 return workings from Cibatu, CC5003 had arrived on the morning train hauling only two 4 wheel coaches.

The wide cab became crowded with passengers and I had left it too late to get a spot in a carriage, instead I had a white knuckle ride clinging to the outside ledge of the last coach watching the track pass under my feet, I had a view of the trestle Iíd rather forget!

There was no respite from the ash at Cibatu.

C1116 had been drafted in as a pilot nearing a century of active service.

The C11 and the passengers offered a burst of colour in this otherwise grey setting. 

CC5024 worked the midday train back to Garut, this time I had a widow seat and could enjoy the engine working, as though the two coaches were a taxing load. A blue sky and some locals again provided a touch of colour. 

A year later in August 1983 there was still steam working at Garut, but the service was in terminal decline. I had last seen CC5019 at Kroja a year earlier. Now I watched it shunting oil wagons at Garut before ambling down to the station and attaching to the mixed, which included a van and oil tanker.

I seemed set for a run to Cibatu, but the lack of passengers puzzled me. I was told that there had been no service the day before and the engine had arrived on a train of oil tanks. It was possible it would run a train to Cibatu, but who knew and there was no guarantee there would be a return train. Some 3 hours later it was still slumbering in the yard and I abandoned it in favour of a bus to Bandung. Not only steam was finishing here, but the passenger service too was to be withdrawn.


Rob Dickinson

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