The International Steam Pages
Java Sugar Steam 2002 - 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. Since 1998 the mills have charged a uniform RP 25000 per visitor. Future prospects are obviously not good here, in 2000 the position had stabilised, and in 2001 there was a definite (surprising) improvement. On the dark side it appears beer has been banned from sale in Pekalongan, I had to import some from elsewhere.
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. The estate still grows sugar as part of the Jatibarang administered area, but virtually all the track has been lifted and the cane goes out by truck. I visited the mill on 4th July 2002. Much of the machinery had been stripped for spare parts and all the non-ferrous material on the locomotives had been systematically removed, officially for other mills but I would guess it had been stolen for scrap. Anyway the locomotives are now absolutely useless.
8. JATIBARANG Mill Index
Although the mill now has two Japanese diesels from Cepiring, steam activity is hanging on here. On 23rd June, I found 1, 2, 5 and 12 at work with 2 about go out on a short trip to the fields although it was not expected back before dark... On 9th July, 1 was having a washout and 10 was active instead, but all steam activity in the morning was in the yard.
9. PANGKA Mill Index
I found 1, 2, 3 and 9 at work on 23rd June, but I did not go inside. The same locomotives plus 10 on the mill shunt were at work on 9th July, which, sadly, for my group, was a cloudy day. The condition of the locomotives here is excellent, the quality of operation is amazingly good considering the overall state of the industry in Java although my second visit on August 17th was plagued by derailments and a broken wheel on a cane lori.
10. SUMBERHARJO Mill Index
Steamy but idle as usual on 4th July. 9, 10 and 11 were beside the weighbridge at midday thinking about going out. 6 was by the road yard, 3 was at the back of the mill and 4 and 7 were on shed. On 17th August, 4 was used on the mud train in the morning as the regular diesel was under repair.
On the morning of 23rd June, I was told that the working steam fleet was the same as last year and I saw all in steam except 8, 12 and 20 which for some reason were at Comal and had not (yet?) worked to Sragi. On the afternoon of 3rd July, every steam locomotive was at Sragi except 20 which was at Ampal Gading south of Comal. 1, 10, 11, 14 and 15 were working the empties and 5, 6 7, 12 and 16 the fulls. 17 had a day off from Tegalsuruh and was literally roped in to help sort the constant derailments. On 10th July, we found 13 locos on shed at Sragi at 0.8.00 (just 19 was missing). Over the next half an hour or so, the group watched entranced as most of them came off shed, took wood and backed off into the yard to start work. By 09.30 a couple of trains had worked in from the yard including a long one with two locos propelling. In the afternoon, the mill was busy between derailments and we went watch the water buffalo preparing 17's train beyond Tegalsuruh but more derailments and the clouds made photography impossible - I was so asleep I managed to fall into a muddy ditch Next morning, it was cloudy but the locomotives were off shed earlier. The highlight was 12 retrieving cane loris from the Comal line and 6 on the front of some overnight deliveries in the yard, hence we saw two of the big locomotives at the 'right' end end of a train which made a very nice change. (I hasten to add these manoeuvres were spontaneous and not requested.) On 15th/16 August things were much as before. From just six brief visits, I get the impression that Sragi is steadily moving towards a road only operation. If this happens and Jatibarang was to close releasing 600mm gauge diesels, then steam here would become very thin indeed...
Click here for pictures of the Sragi 2002 roster in steam (except OK 0-8-0T 8, and 19). Please don't anyone tell the UK magazine Steam Railway about Sragi....
12. CEPIRING Mill Index
The mill was closed at the end of the 1997 season. Driving past in 2000/1/2, the yard was 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 was transferred to Gondang Baru and used there until they closed their field lines. They were still here on 7th July 2000, looking more and more decrepit although I would guess not beyond salvation.
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Rob and Yuehong Dickinson