The International Steam Pages

Java Sugar Steam 2000 - Madiun Area Mills

The Madiun mills are operated by PTP Nusantara XI.  There is clearly room for rationalisation in this area.  I would not be surprised if a couple of these mills closed soon, Kanigoro and Soedhono (even Rejosari) would seem to be the most likely candidates. 1998 proved to be a disastrous year for steam around Madiun, and 1999 turned out to be even worse. First impressions are that 2000 looks to be similar to 1999, the number of active locos is much less than half what it was four years ago.

19. SOEDHONO Mill Index

At 10.30 on 8th July, I found the mill busy, but all traffic was being handled by at least 5 diesels. 3, 6, 9 and 10 were stored serviceable in the shed. The administration promised to steam one for my groups, but this is the first time I have tried to get special facilities here so I was delighted to find 6 pulled out of the shed and 3 in steam at the head of some empties nearby when we arrived at 07.30 on 27th July. The crew were obviously just as pleased too, because very soon the loco was on the front of some fulls which it pulled through the yard, across the road and then down past the weighbridge. They even did a second run before we left at 09.00. On 13th August, being a Sunday(?), the mill was quieter but 3 was again in steam and ran one load for the visitors.

20. PURWODADI Mill Index

At 11.30 on 8th July, working normally with 5, 10 and 15 on yard duties. Apparently 11 was also in steam inside the mill with 16 under repair. On 27th July, the yard was unusually busy at 07.15 with a train of fulls already crossing the bridge. 5, 10 and 15 were again active together with a small Schoema diesel, and activity continued all through the rest of the morning at least. When we came back some time after 17.00, the yard was still very busy and as it became dark, there was a moderately good display of fireworks while the locos were brewing up, but during movement surprisingly little. On August 12th in the late afternoon, the system was very busy with the river bridge very photogenic as the sun slowly set. On August 13th, at 09.00 all five locos were in evidence and hard at work, although when we drove past at 07.00 there was no activity.

Purwodadi bridge

.21. REJOSARI Mill Index

Very quiet at 12.00 on 8th July, 10 worked in a train and then vanished off to the shed. All the other locos were here, in particular 12 had not been used so far this year but would be available if traffic demanded or tourists groups were around. On July 27th, at 14.00, the mill was awash with cane but there was no sign of 12 working as requested and 10 worked in two full loads at 15.15 and 15.45 in excellent light to murmurs of approval from the watching enthusiasts. This jackshaft loco is arguably the most amazing surviving working steam locomotive in 2000. It was working again on August 5/6th and 12th. Despite promises, 12 had still clearly yet to see use in 2000.

22. KANIGORO Mill Index

Extremely quiet at 13.30 on 8th July. What road deliveries there were, were in the hands of two diesels. 6 was mill shunter and 11 (both still burning coal) was in light steam outside the shed. Only 4 and 5 of the other locos still looked potential runners, but are unlikely to be needed. The mud train here is now normally diesel. On 28th July in the morning, 6 was mill shunter and 11 was steamed specially for my group and worked a cane train from the loading point next to the mill once the crew had located some more coal. On August 6th, just 6 was in use. I predict this mill will close at the end of this year or next.

Kanigoro 11

23. PAGOTTAN Mill Index

Much as in 1999, with just 8 in use with its nose tight up against loaded loris near the mill. The diesels were propelling in the loris which meant they no longer needed to be coupled - presumably the increased risk of derailment was no longer important with reduced trainloads.

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Rob and Yuehong Dickinson