The International Steam Pages

Java Sugar Steam 2000 - Central Java North Coast

These mills were operated originally by PNP XV which became part of PNP XV/XVI, subsequently PTP XV/XVI which is now known as PTP Nusantara IX. They have a large number of steam locos, most operating to the fields in the traditional manner but they have the universal attribute of doing most of their most interesting work during the hours of darkness - presumably to balance the road deliveries which tend to be made during the day time. In 1998/9/2000, the mills charged a uniform RP 25000 per visitor. Future prospects are not good here, but first impressions in 2000 were that the position had stabilised.

7. BANJARATMA Mill Index

This mill closed at the end of the 1997 season.. Two of its diesel locomotives have gone to Tasik Madu, the steam locomotives are stored and being of 750mm gauge are unlikely to find use elsewhere - the only remaining working mill with this gauge is Tasik Madu and this has more than enough locos for the traffic on offer.

8. JATIBARANG Mill Index

With a new Japanese diesel from Cepiring, steam activity in 1999 was at a low ebb. In 2000, they took delivery of the other one with the inevitable consequences. However, at 16.00 on 6th July, I found 2, 5, 10 and 12 all at work in the mill and the yard - more locos than I found working here in 1999! However, on 15th July at 10.00 just 5 was shunting with 10 and 12 in light steam and 2 cold. It was much the same at 08.00 on 19th July. 2, 5 and 10 were lit up on shed with no work to do. Eventually, 5 burst into life and before it could leave for the yard, it was hijacked and placed on the turntable outside the half roundhouse for photography. Those who followed it out reported that it headed for the nearest tree to rest in the shade out of the loco foreman's gaze.

Jatibarang 5

9. PANGKA Mill Index

At the end of a long first day, I stopped for 5 minutes at 17.00 on 6th July. 3 was on a train in the delivery yard and 2 and 9 later appeared from the mill. Since looking over the wall I had earlier seen at least three locos in the mill yard that left at least one more loco in steam, possibly 1 or 10 suggested as being active by the crew of 3 (who unfortunately spoke more Javanese than Indonesian). The other locomotive working in 1999, 7 was said to need repairs. I visited the mill again on 15th July at 09.30. 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10 were all at work with 7 in the shed with wood in the tender. On 19th July, 2 was cold on shed and a diesel substituted although otherwise activity appeared normal.

Pangka 3

10. SUMBERHARJO Mill Index

I stopped by briefly on 15th July to discuss possibilities for my group visit. The active locos had been repainted green, with 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 in steam with 3 cold. 1 and 5 are officially spare but unlikely to see further use, especially as I found Kalibagor 4 and 5 at the back of the shed. 4 would be an especially interesting revival, it is a Borsig 0-4-4-0T Mallet and has an almost brand new boiler. On 20th July, we arrived at 08.30 to find all the locos on shed, with just 7, 9, 10 and 11 in steam. During the next two hours they fuelled and watered and started to do a little bit of shunting, but showed no sign of taking out empties. Even by Sumberharjo's standards this was a dozy performance.

11. SRAGI Mill Index

At Comal at 07.30 on 7th July, the line of dumped locos was still present and 17 was in light steam. 8, 12, 19 and 20 were reported to be at Sragi after working cane trains overnight. At 08.00 at Sragi, I found 1, 5, 6, 7 and 16 near the gantries ready to begin the day's operations. 10, 11 and 20 were also seen in steam near the traffic office who stated that 14 and 15 were also active. This would mean that the same fleet of fourteen locos was operative as in 1999 - definitely good news!

I dropped by at Sragi at 15.00 on 14th July. The usual afternoon action (and obligatory derailment) was in full swing. Of the line (Comal) locomotives, 19 was still at Sragi. The loco foreman had finished work and volunteered (unlike Cuba you don't have to pay them) to find 12 which was a few km south of Comal town, but there were no fulls in evidence and I abandoned it. On the way back we diverted to find 20 astride the main line with fulls being pulled up by water buffalo. This field was now finished so the loco headed back to the mill in weak afternoon sunlight at 16.30 - making this the fourth mill at which I had seen daylight field trains this year, but I doubt there will be many more.

On 20th July, at 14.00 we found 5, 6, 7 and 16 propelling in fulls from the gantry as usual although the mill yard was already too full for much activity. 1, 10 and 15 were busy delivering empties and 14 put in a surprise appearance with a set of empties from the Comal line. At 15.15 we set off to find 17 south-west of the mill - apparently it is the favoured loco for this line with its light axle loading. The first timers particularly appreciated the water buffalo bringing up the full loris and at 16.50 in soft sunlight, the train set off. Just as in 1999, it managed to derail a lori just short of the mill and we set off for home.

12. CEPIRING Mill Index

The mill was closed at the end of the 1997 season. Driving past, the yard is overgrown and the loris were scarcely visible under the vegetation. The field lines appear mainly lifted.

13. RENDENG Mill Index

All 6 steam locos here have been in store for more than 10 years except 8 which has been transferred to Gondang Baru. They were still here on 7th July, looking more and more decrepit although I would guess not beyond salvation.

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Rob and Yuehong Dickinson