The International Steam Pages

Sawahlunto Heritage, 2012

This is part of our report on our visit to West Sumatra in late 2012.  You can read about the rest of it from the links below.

For the first time visitor there is a helpful map and information at the station:

The town of Sawahlunto has ample architectural reminders of its Dutch origins. This is what is now the Central Cultural Building (literally warehouse) and the offices of PT Bukit Asam which was the government corporation which operated the mine.

Two of the schools carry the name Santa Lucia and the church is Santa Barbara:

This was our original hoped for accommodation, the former Wisma Batu Bara, experience suggests it will be in need of an internal make over. We ended up at the Parai City Garden which certainly is overdue a refit and there is also the Losmen level Hotel Laura near the market but we didn't check that out. There are quite a few homestays too which we think would be the best choices for more than one night.

Most readers of this page will be more interested in what is left of the coal mine itself. This is a view in Dutch days on display in the Parai Hotel:

This is almost completely obstructed by later additions and of course the railway and wagons are gone.

The later concrete coal silos are most imposing and the conveyor leading to them striking. Behind is the PTBA workshop, the only part of this complex still in its original use. Some of the white building above is now occupied by the town's cultural and artistic department.

What's left is nothing like complete but unless a lot of money is spent and soon, it will deteriorate to the point where it will become dangerous.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson