The International Steam Pages
Java Sugar Steam 2003 - 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, although Pangka and Sumberharjo were expecting Rp 50000 in 2003. After a reduction in activity reflecting the industry's problems in 1999/2000, steam activity seems reasonably stable, Sragi especially being a bright spot. On the dark side it appears beer has been banned from sale in Pekalongan, for the last few years I have 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. It began milling in early June, the locos being freshly repainted. On 26th June, I found 1, 2, 5, 10 and 12 in use looking much smarter than usual.... On 21st July, only 10 was not in use around the yard which was quite busy.
9. PANGKA Mill Index
Began milling in mid June and reported busy later in the month by Joachim Lutz. The mill now has a tourist train, how far it can go out into the fields I am not at all sure, but it was featured in a local newspaper Suara Merdeka just after milling started...... 7 has been tarted up and some coaches made up, but I don't believe 7 has even been steamed since (one of the diesels has also been given a special paint scheme). During a visit on 21st July most of the main drag trains were diesel operated, possibly because the mill was short of bagasse. I spent a day here on 6th September and steam had a much greater profile with most full yard trains steam. Staff expected to continue into late October.
10. SUMBERHARJO Mill Index
Begin milling in early June. Joachim Lutz found it as quiet as ever but saw two steam hauled loaded trains just after dusk. I called in on June 26th and found that there is still extensive steam/diesel field working here with 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 rostered to bring in trains, all of them in the dark of course. I walked out to find 11 some way east of the mill. The empty loris say it all, I am glad I left before the rain came down. On 23rd July, I visted with my group, things were much as usual, we stayed until a couple of steam hauled trains of empties went out at about 11.00.
Started milling in early June. 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, mass tourism is not appropriate for these operations....
Nick Bryant was here on 26th June and reports the position the same as 2002 except that the attractive line south of the mill to Tegalsari has been closed so that 17 has gone back to Comal. I joined Nick later in the day and we found 8 crossing the main line near Comal at dusk (17.30), an amazing sight in 2003!
With my group on 22nd/23rd July, the mill yard was working normally, but on the first day we found two overnight trains waiting to come in and on the second day were able to chase 20 all the way from Comal town to Sragi. On the first afternoon we watched cane loading for 17 just south of Comal mill although departure would have been just after dark and on the second afternoon 20 worked across the main line (as above) again at 16.30 in perfect light (that is on colour slide!). A great operation still in good shape, keep your fingers crossed nothing changes in 2004.
12. CEPIRING Mill Index
The mill was closed at the end of the 1997 season. I visited in September 2003 as part of my mill machinery survey. One of the locomotives is dumped outside the shed, the rest are inside with undergrowth rapidly taking over.
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