The International Steam Pages

Java Sugar Steam 2000 - Central Java South Coast

These mills were operated originally by PNP XVI which became part of PNP XV/XVI, subsequently PTP XV/XVI which is now known as PTP Nusantara IX. It took me a long time to sort out these mills because this was not an interesting area for main line steam in the 70s. In their prime Gondang Baru and Tasik Madu provided some of my favourite rides and photos. However, this area has really prospered in recent times which means that the mills have suffered badly from loss of labour (to new factories) and growing land (to housing as the towns and cities expand). Future prospects for steam (and its mills) are very poor with Kalibagor, Ceper Baru and Colomadu reported closed during the 1998 season. I would not expect Gondang Baru to last much longer and standards at even Tasik Madu are now very low.

14. KALIBAGOR Mill Index

Closed at the end of the 1997 season. 4 and 5 were transferred to Sumberharjo in 2000, probably leaving only 7 here as 6 went to Gondang Baru some years ago.

15. GONDANG BARU Mill Index

This mill did not use its steam locomotives in 1999 and closed its field lines. Unlikely to have used them this year either..

16. CEPER BARU Mill Index

Closed at the end of the 1997 season.

17. COLOMADU Mill Index

Closed at the end of the 1997 season. The four remaining steam locomotives (1 and 4 750mm, 2 and 6 700mm) were still here locked away securely on 14th July. I was solemnly told that they were protected by magic and that anyone even pissing on the shed doors would become ill - someone had better tell the termites who have eaten their way half way through them.

18. TASIK MADU Mill Index

Nick Bryant was here early in the season on 18th June. Not a pretty sight, but things will probably be better by July.

"Yesterday I went to Tasik Madu, it was very quiet, the unloading area by the main entrance was unused and full of empty loris. A few trucks were entering the main gate and unloading in the area near the engine shed. The shunting of the loris was being carried out by a couple of small diesels. Engine XIV was in steam in the adjacent sidings and the remaining steam engines were parked in front of the shed some of which were in steam. Lots of people sitting around doing nothing!!"

I stopped by at 07.30 on 14th July. Too early for much activity, but seven locos were in steam (1, 3, 5, 5B, 7, 7B and 14). 6 was having a washout and the two ex-Banjaratma diesels were working too. Quite a lot of cane from the previous day, afternoons here might be quite busy with the gantry by the main entrance now in use. All field lines looked totally disused. 

Morning rush hour

Tasikmadu VI in full cry

On 22nd July, only two-thirds of my group made it to the mill as I had to rescue a totally failed car - the first time in 10 years that mechanical failure has made this happen (the only other time I abandoned a car was one from Avis in 1991). Those who went say that the mill was clogged with cane and a lot of shuffling of loris was necessary to keep road deliveries flowing. 5 and 6 were working from the gantry by the main entrance - the use of these big locos a sure sign that the mill was as busy as it would ever be. Next morning we arrived at 07.30 at the beginning of what was the most intense morning activity I have ever seen here. 6 worked up from the main gate twice before 09.00 and 5 once. In between, 3, 7B and 14 shuffled other fulls from the gantry next to the main yard and the storage sidings next to it. 1 and 7 as usual were working mainly near the mill itself. On August 11th, in the afternoon, the situation was similar to 22nd July and for the morning of 12th August, the system was almost as busy as our previous morning visit. Staff expected the season to continue well into September.

Flag day at Tasik Madu

Click here to return to the Java Contents Page.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson