The International Steam Pages

Steam in Java 2006

2005 saw my 24th visit to Java and I led my 17th tour. Despite my pessimism, everyone agreed that there was still more than enough activity to satisfy the first time visitor, but I decided it was time to retire from running my own extended tours as sufficient steam locomotive activity can no longer be guaranteed. However, I was back leading a short and well booked bash for the Locomotive Club of Great Britain - what a shame all the people now interested in visiting Java (because there is virtually no other working steam left in the world outside China) never got here in the days when it was absolutely wonderful...... Click here for a photo gallery from the tour, courtesy of Robin Patrick.

Sweet Spot - the ultimate Olean DVD
Read  Keith Chester's Review

This is the 2006 report, click here for a brief summary of the main news, other reports are available:

In 2002 I produced a series of pages containing photographs of the best steam action then, it's well worth a look but very little of it is still possible in 2010.

Click here for the Mill Index or Mill Map or choose the area you want:

West Java Mills 
(24th August 2006)

Central Java North Coast Mills 
(24th August 2006)

Central Java South Coast Mills 
(24th August 2006)

Madiun area Mills 
(14th October 2006) 

Kediri area Mills 
(24th August 2006) 

Far Eastern Mills 
(14th October 2006)

Private Mills 
(1st October 2006)


The mills are arranged from West to East, North Coast then South Coast with the Private Mills at the end. Click on the mill in the Index below (mills with no link no longer use steam, but may have locos stored on site):








De Maas














Ketanggungan Barat










Pakis Baru














Tasik Madu

Tersana Baru





Mill location map

The numbers are those used in the reports.

The Main News in Brief Contents

The rains in Java have been heavy and prolonged, some damage to infrastructure occurred but it seem unlikely the sugar harvest will be affected. World sugar prices are on the rise. This coupled with the strength of the Indonesian Rupiah has led to a 10% rise in local shop prices for sugar to over Rp 5000 a kilo. This can only be good news for the growers and mills, although you should remember that the lead time for sugar is around a year.... Diesel prices have doubled, but this will have come too late for many of the mills who have ripped up their field lines for the most part.

  • The Central Java North Coast Mills were all using steam again in 2006 by early July, almost unchanged from 2005.

  • Tasik Madu was busier in mid-July than at the corresponding time in 2005..

  • The Madiun area mills started milling by the end of May and worked broadly as in 2005.

  • Asembagus and Olean were working as in 2005 by early July 2006.

  • Graham Lee bought Trangkil 4 (which he has since regauged and Great Westernised), together with Pakis 1 and 5 in 2004. He has since bought Sragi 1 and 14, Ceper 5 and Jatibarang 9. All are now in the UK.

  • C1218 has been returned to steam at Ambarawa although it still lacks some paperwork which it needs before entering full public operation. It ran a special train for the visiting LCGB group which I was leading.

  • The Cepu Forest Railway suffered bridge damage just outside the log yard during the rainy season. The authorities failed to restore it in time for the rail tour season. Operation here is now decidedly sloppy and unreliable although there are still good photographs to be had with the rump operation.

PT Keretapi News Contents

I ran 3 specials at Ambarawa using B2503, E1060 and C1218 as usual in August 2006. I have posted a page of pictures of C1218 at work.

E1060 is rumoured to be going back to West Sumatra 'soon'.

Click here for the unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum website.

These are pictures of 2003 trains, 2004 looked much the same as did 2005 except for the weather which was not kind! 2006 saw good weather for the C12 and B25 and poor weather for the E10. First E1060 at Jambu:

Here is B2503 during a late afternoon runpast.

C1218 on the bridge south of Jambu station in August 2006.

Cepu Forest Railway Contents 

Sadly the paragraph which follows was written before my 2006 visit.  The bridge between the log yard and the residual part of the system was damaged during the 2005/2006 rainy season. Nothing was done to repair it before the 2006 tourist season despite promise after promise. Worse still, assurances to me and organisers of other groups about locomotive availability were not met. This may have been my last visit, I can no longer strongly recommend that enthusiast tours include Cepu on their itinerary. This was a great railway, I wish I had not been present to see it die; I had tried so hard to tell the world to save it....  

Regular logging trains ceased some time ago and much of the system has been lifted. The only way to see this unique operation is to organise your own special logging trains which I have done regularly once or twice a year since 1997 and did again in July 2005. However, the political anarchy which is taking over the country has seen large parts of the forest devastated and in September 2001 Perhutani lost its Smartwood accreditation which has stopped legal exports of teak from Indonesia to Europe. They were planting on an 80 year cycle but cutting on a 10 year cycle, now all (legal) logging has been stopped in Java. In 2003/4 we didn't load much wood but we still got some good pictures. There is a full illustrated report of one of the 2002 trips available, the picture below is from 2004.

Click here for the International Steam Page.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson