The International Steam Pages

Java Sugar Steam 2000 - Far Eastern Mills

These mills are run by PTP Nusantara XI, formed in 1996 by the amalgamation of PTP XX and PTP XXIV/XXV. These mills were previously PNP XXIV/XXV and before that PNP XXIV and PNP XXV. The Situbondo area is definitely 'unspoiled Java', with facilities at the beach 'resort' of Pasir Puteh to match - in other words, gricers' heaven. If you want luxury, then try the new Hotel Rosali in Situbondo itself. For Semboro, stay in Jember which has hotels for all pockets, unfortunately there is nowhere to stay in Tanggul. Of course, Olean and Wringinanom have long been firmly in my top ten mills.

I think Panji, Wringinanom and Asembagus have the best medium term prospects of survival.  In 1999, even around Olean I could see much less new cane.... All of which amounts to bad news for the steam locos. One final small word of warning, the working girls at Pasir Puteh are more 'working' than 'girl'....

33. KEDAWUNG Mill Index

I ran a special train here on 31st July and tried to repeat it on 15th August, but these (and a couple of other steamings for Japanese parties) will probably be the only steam activity here this year. 14 and 16 (and their drivers) are happy to do authentic shunting around the mill and just outside it, but on the second occasion 16 was failed with a leaky tube. 

34. WONOLANGAN Mill Index

I drove past the mill on 13th July. The field lines now appear to be out of use which reduces the slim chance of any steam active even more. 

35. GENDING Mill Index

The four steam locos here spent most of the last ten years in store although in the early 90s a couple were used occasionally as some kind of job creation scheme. The cost of annual boiler inspections put a stop to this.  OK Mallet 4 is now at the Frankfurter Feldbahnmuseum, the others are still stored in the shed. The field lines here across the main road appeared out of use on 13th July although I did not go near the mill.

36. PAJARAKAN Mill Index

There is no possibility of the two remaining steam locos being put back into action.

37. JATIROTO Mill Index

This mill has had the biggest collection of disused and dismantled locos in Java for many years.

38. SEMBORO Mill Index

I visited on 10th July to try to set up special workings for my two tour groups. Once again, the mill was working well below capacity, such that not only was there no work for the steam locos, but there would have been no bagasse to fire them. Firelesses 2 and 3 were working as usual behind the mill. From the look of the OK Mallets, none was used at all last year and Jung 0-6-0T 29 while serviceable looked as if it had not seen any use so far this season. However, it performed admirably on our special train on 2nd August. On 16th August, the mill tried to steam the only Mallet with a current boiler certificate, 21, but it had caught the Kedawung disease and sprung a leaky tube. 29 again substituted.

29 on the special

39. DE MAAS Mill Index

My prediction that this mill would not work in 2000 was correct. I am told that all the locos are still here in the shed.

40. WRINGINANOM Mill Index

The season indeed started in early July. OK 6 and DB 7 are still alive (just) and at 14.00 on 11th July 6 was being prepared to go out to Kom, 7 needing minor repairs to its tender, but the main reason it was not in use was lack of fuel (6 was burning wood).

I talked to the Chief Engineer here on 12th July and he was reasonably confident that the mill would be working in 2001. In the afternoon, 6 was used to bring in fulls from the area just beyond the weigh bridge. Although it was hardly spectacular action, the light at 16.30 was just about perfect for still photography. On 31st July, 6 was still in the yard at 16.00 and did not depart for the fields until 17.00. 7 was still not in use, this time the excuse was 'lack of staff'. On 1st August, we elected to spend the afternoon here after an extended mill visit in the morning. 6 was taking wood by 14.30 and just after 15.00 left the mill for the area where the lines split some 1km from the mill. The first load came back with a diesel, but 6 returned in soft late afternoon sunlight at 16.30, the photographic results should be good. On 3rd August my friend Tjeng Chiao went fishing here as we we had all cars full and reported that 6 came back at 15.50, but on 4th August 6 left the mill at 14.30 but was found an hour later hiding in the cane west of the mill allegedly about to bring a load from Kom although no loris were in sight. 

On 18th August, 6 was at work as usual and came back to the mill around 16.30, just as the clouds rolled in.

41. OLEAN Mill Index

I arrived at 15.00 on 10th July, to find 7 waiting for its train to be made up just west of the mill. 4 and 5 were at Gelung in the far north-west of the system and came back leaving at 15.30 and 16.00. Compared to previous years, performance was only average, the bagasse was damp and the wood they were also burning was 'green'. After five days of nearly non-stop driving the length of Java on crowded roads, it was a pleasure to drive 5 through the almost deserted cane fields. According to the crews they had been working for about three weeks and the other locomotives 1 and 3 were not serviceable.

On 11th July, Olean was not its usual self, in fact, it was more like the north coast mills west of Semarang. All three locos left the mill at 15.00. 5 probably got back quite early from the west line, but 4 and 7 did not start back from Gelung until long after dark although the roman candles made the wait seem worthwhile. During the day it emerged that the roadside line north through Tribungan was probably closed (but see below). There must also have been problems with the line through Bumiayu because loaded cane was being taken tender first off the far end off this line before returning via the west line.

Olean 7

Olean 4

Olean roadside

Olean 7

On 12th July, I spent most of the afternoon at Wringinanom. However, at 17.00 4 was bringing in a short train near the mill, with 5 and 7 already back. I then saw 5 head off to the fields for another train before retiring for a beer.

I can see problems later in the season with such a limited roster, my gut feeling is that time is running out here with the locos in poorer state than before with paint peeling off (even showing Pajarakan yellow in places). I talked to the Chief Engineer here on 12th July and it was clear that the future of this mill is very much in doubt.

On 31st July, 5 was on the west line at 14.00 and then worked back to the mill by 15.00. It was followed by 4 on a short train off the north line. 7 was out on the line which approaches the Wringinanom system. I was horrified to see how little cane remained at what should be an early part of the season and even more horrified to see cane being trucked in along the tracks next to the railway. More than ever, I fear this may be Olean's last season. On August 3rd, 4 worked in at 15.30 from Tribungan where significant amounts of cane remain with 5 and 7 on the west line. The next day only 4 and 5 were found, both with very short trains on the west line. Fine for the first timer, but a pale shadow of just two years ago.

15th, 16th and 17th August saw all three locos in action west of the mill (Duwet), north of the mill (Tribungan) and on the roadside section north (Semiring), with significantly longer trains than two weeks earlier. On 17th August, trains ran late because the mill railway staff held a meeting to discuss a possible strike over pay (no overtime available as only 20% of the cane now comes by rail). On 15th August, Dietmar Kramer tried to organise my tour group for his own personal benefit once too often and appeared in the cab window of the loco at the principal photospot at Bumiayu. I issued him with a 'red card', the first time I have ever had to remove someone from a tour..... 

I was very conscious that 18th August might be my last day ever at Olean (management still talks of plans for 2001). The group had an extended visit to the mill in the morning and I returned in the afternoon. Afterwards, I watched 4 coming from Semering through Tribungan and Bumiayu (Karang Malang) in perfect light on around 30 fulls, a fitting end to Java 2000! 

42. PANJI Mill Index

I dropped by in August 1999 and it was quite clear that there is now no prospect of any of the steam locos here running again. I had previously described the locos here as 'stored' and although superficially they look OK, most of the non-ferrous fittings have been removed for the other mills in the area.

43. PRAJEKAN Mill Index

The serviceable smaller locos were reallocated to De Maas and Asembagus some years ago. The other locos remain in store, a tragic end for the magnificent Luttermöllers.

44. ASEMBAGUS Mill Index

3 and 5 available as required but unlikely to be hyper-active at any time during the season (They were outside the shed under light maintenance when I popped in on July 11th). I ran my annual box van specials on 3rd and 17th August, since the line to Jangkar was occupied we went east almost to the edge of Baluran National Park . Ross Sadler was here in mid-July and found occasional trains in the afternoon on the north/west lines returning tender first.

Asmebagus special

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Rob and Yuehong Dickinson