The International Steam Pages


Steamy Java Sugar Mill Tour 2010, Mojopahit Memories

This series of pages from July and August 2010 records our travels from China to Malaysia and on to Java, Indonesia where we were hosting the 'Steamy Java Tour 2010'. Click here for the main Winds of Change index page.


In theory, it should be downhill all the way now with two thirds of the trip completed and no known issues remaining. In practice, we are into a sequence of three 'one nighters' which anyone involved in tours hates, it's far more pleasant to have at least two nights in a place, but that does depend on the density of steam powered sugar mills. Worse, some of them are relatively minor which leads to our making three visits on a number of days. Even worse, the dust from the mills has turned malignant and I am not only sneezing but coughing up some yellow-green-grey muck and have lost my voice. Some might say the latter was actually good news.

Next morning the road had been cleared and we left town past their own version of the Gateway to India / Arc de Triomphe / Brandenburg gate. Even the Chinese would have struggled to produce anything more ugly than this. It looks like a big box of kretek cigarettes and was no doubt paid for by Gudang Garam who have their base here churning them out.

The point of a brief visit to Cukir is to see their three vacuum pumps, the rest of the mill being of no interest. 

Apart from the bog standard Stork, shown further down, they (like Kanigoro and Pagottan) have ancient twin machines from Manlove, Alliott and Fryer. They have only a couple of seasons left as the mill is about to upgrade its boilers to provide more electricity and they will be an early casualty. 

From here, it wasn't very far to Jombang which historically had a bit of paranoia about visitors. The mill is right in the middle of town and in the new Indonesia, the local people are no longer prepared to put up with palls of black smoke and the water pollution associated with the mill. However, we were quickly in and made welcome. It was only just in time as the mill was running out of cane and would shortly shut down. There are five Storks in the milling line and the first, second and fifth (left) have completely different reversing systems from the third and fourth (right)

Unusually, the actual mills bear the name 'Maxwell Engineers Yogya', but no one has been able to tell me whether they were made in Java or whether Maxwell was just an agent.

Next to the milling line, just one duplex boiler feedwater pump remains, unusually this is from Gardners, a name more usually associated with governors. 

My favourite engine here is the old vacuum pump which is probably a Stork although Werkspoor made similar engines (see the one at Watutulis). The other vacuum pump, a Werkspoor of 1926, lies dumped outside.

It's not long till 'Hari Merdeka / Independence Day' on 17th August and, like the first swallows, the first students are out marching:

It was lunch time and the trusty 'Dipo' next to the station at Mojokerto yet again served us one of the best Indonesian (Javan) meals of the trip, with just enough cold beer available so no one would complain.


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

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