The International Steam Pages

Steam in Java 1997

As many readers of these steam pages will know, I am a regular visitor to Java, this year is my 17th visit and I shall be leading my 9th tour. I look upon it as a very public love affair.

This is the 1997 report, Click here for a brief summary of the main news - it could be a lot worse, other reports are available:

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

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 have not used steam in recent years, but may have locos stored on site):

Mill location map

The numbers are those used in the reports.

The Main News in Brief Contents

  • Jatiwangi has closed its field lines, the steam locos are stored.

  • At Sindanglaut, the locos have reverted to their former numbers and green livery, nine locos are regularly steamed here but loaded trains are running later and later.

  • At Tasik Madu, IV's boiler has been condemned and as a result Colomadu 5 is now here. The mill has put its vertical boiler steam roller back into commission!

  • Semboro's DB Mallets 26 and 27 have been sent to Kanigoro.

  • At Pagottan only one loco was in use in early July - owing to insufficient bagasse - more should work later in the season.

  • Rejosari has painted its locos blue - their 4th livery in 10 years!

  • Soedhono has repainted its fleet yellow.

  • Gending 4 has been donated to Germany for preservation, it has now arrived at the Frankfurter Feldbahnmuseum.

  • Pajarakan 1 is at Olean and under repair.

  • Kebonagung 5 is having major firebox work and both Henschels are running there.

Mill Closures Contents

The newspaper article in Solo named the following mills as due for closure at the end of the 1997 season:

Kalibagor, Colomadu, Ceper Baru, Cepiring and Banjaratma

On talking to a senior official at HQ in Solo, it seems that management intends to close these mills, but no definite decision has actually been taken and it may be very difficult politically. Already, it seems likely that Colomadu has had one closure deferred. This and Kalibagor must be the most likely early casualties.

Perumka News  Contents

At Ambarawa, E1060 appeared in 1996 from Padang Works in West Sumatra. Its repair is progressing well and staff say it should be ready for testing in late August or September. Business is good here, 15 specials ran in May and July's total could be even greater. I ran steam specials here on July 25th and 31st.

Cepu Forest Railway Contents

A visiting Japanese group ran the standard tourist train here on the afternoon of July 8th, according to staff, the trains are running about once a month. If you are visiting Java as an individual it is worth asking in the Perhutani office in Jalan Sarogo in Cepu about the dates of forthcoming specials because you may be able to join one. Regular logging trains are decidedly irregular and depend on the area being logged, although they are more likely during and immediately after the rainy season when road trucks cannot get into the forest.

On July 30th, I ran a special logging train. We were charged U$56 per person (including accommodation and full board - minimum 15 passengers) and BMAG 0-10-0T Tudjubelas was made available with five wagons and a (detachable) passenger coach. We took the empties to the forest at 07.30 and returned with fulls at 17.00. In between we were treated to innumerable run-pasts together with the unforgettable sight and sound of loading the wagons by hand to the accompaniment of Javanese work songs. Simply, there is nowhere else in the world where you can see this kind of operation and we shall definitely be back next year. Check out the pictures from 2002.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson