Rabu, 19 Agustus 2009

The Founder

Kereta Untuk Bagunharja

Steam in Java 2008

I have lost count of my visits to Java since I first went in 1975. In the 33 years since then, I have missed just 7 years, all but one in the 1980s. I have often described my relationship as like a public love affair. Alas the global recession and the associated collapse in the value of the GBP mean that I shall not be there in 2009.

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

This is the 2008 report, you should also read the 1996 report, the 1997 report, the 1998 report the 1999 report, the 2000 report, the 2001 report, the 2002 report, the 2003 report, the 2004 report, the 2005 report, the 2006 report and the 2007 report and the 2009 report. There are so many pictures already on this site, I have stripped all the retrospective ones out of the individual area pages for 2007/8, they are easily found by looking back. These days I just sit and watch or take video, if anyone has something good (and new!) from 2008, please let me have them for the site...

Budget or Independent traveller?
David Longman at large in Java in 2006

Budget or Independent traveller?
Read Jan Willem van Dorp's Travel Guide

These reports were last updated on 12th August 2008.

Inside Java's sugar mills - veteran stationary steam!

Click here for a brief summary of the main news. Click here for the non-sugar news.

Visiting Olean in 2009? Need some help with transport to chase the trains?
Please contact Zaenal Combo vidicombo@hotmail.com

In 2002 I produced a series of pages containing photographs of the best steam action, Trangkil, much of Sragi and Cepu are now history of course, the rest will be all too soon:

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

West Java Mills
(12th August 2008)

Central Java North Coast Mills
(12th August 2008)

Central Java South Coast Mills
(12th August 2008)

Madiun area Mills
(12th August 2008)

Kediri area Mills
(16th November 2008)

Far Eastern Mills
(12th August 2008)

Private Mills

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), I have now added 'how to get there' information for the mills with active steam in 2008, but Jan Willem's guide has more comprehensive information.:








De Maas














Ketanggungan Barat










Pakis Baru














Tasik Madu

Tersana Baru





Other Steam

Mill location map

The numbers are those used in the reports, they have no official status.

The Main News in Brief Contents

2006/7 were probably the best sugar seasons in Java for some years, first time visitors seem broadly satisfied by what was on offer given that the real steam clock stands at 1 minute to midnight. Of course, it often differed from what was promised by some tour operators but that was down to a combination of their misleading advertising, sloppy proof reading and lack of good quality local contacts. The main offenders as usual were the late and unlamented Globe Steam (consistently overstating the amount of active steam and offering a Borsig at Sragi for a start) and the Railway Touring Company (numerous and noted as appropriate under the individual mills, but 'many steam locomotives in action' at Semboro took the cherry for 2007 and, amazingly, again for 2008). You have to wonder whether their researchers ever bothered to read the detailed reports on these pages.... My guess is that with world food prices soaring (sugar included), there will not be many changes apparent in 2008 - a dangerous comment no doubt and one that invites the unexpected!

  • Tersana Baru has ceased regular steam activity.
  • Jatibarang is using just one steam locomotive, but Pangka, Sumberharjo and Sragi are essentially unchanged
  • Tasik Madu is working much as before with extra (separate) tourist activity.
  • Rejosari, Purwodadi, Kanigoro and Pagottan are operating as before.
  • Asembagus planned to start milling on 17th, Olean on 25th and Semboro about 23rd May 2008.
  • Japanese gricers in Java (and elsewhere) have all too often shown complete disregard for local customs with their insensitive and selfish behaviour. I do not understand why the rest of us should suffer from their stupid social system that denies them sensible holidays and leads to them throwing money around with complete disregard for the consequences. Moreover at Pangka in July this ugly arsehole charged straight through my video and his colleagues marched in front of my group members taking their own pictures. From now on whenever I encounter Japanese groups (individuals by and large are fine) in Java I shall treat them with the same contempt that this group showed us.

  • If it's not too clear from the reports, then the best mills for steam in quantity and in action are (in alphabetical order): Olean, Pangka, Sragi and Tasik Madu. Under no circumstances contemplate a visit to Java which does not include all of these.
  • Java's main line railways have suffered a large number of well publicised accidents (look at the Jakarta Post website or search under 'Java railway accident') owing to derailments, particularly during the rainy season. Additionally, the line from Surabaya to Bangil (and on east to Jember /Banyuwangi and south to Malang) has been subject to short-notice long delays and even closure owing to the 'mud volcano' adjacent to the track at Porong near Sidoarjo although the situation seems to have eased by 2008. Bear this in mind if you are considering using the trains as part of your planned visit, they are not "well maintained" although, of course, as everywhere they are undoubtedly safer than the roads.
  • The Ambarawa rack railway is operating as per normal.
  • The Cepu Forest Railway suffered bridge damage just outside the log yard during the rains of 2005/6 and the authorities failed to restore it in time for the rail tour season and it seemed that the railway was doomed. However, Steve Noon told me (31st December 2007) that the bridge has been repaired and that work was completed to reinstate the railway for first proving runs with steam on 15th/16th December 2007. We negotiated a sensible package so we added a visit to this fascinating railway during our 2008 tour and will be back with the Java Experience Tour in 2009.

These pages will cover reports received during the 2008 season which is expected to start in May and run through as late as October in the Far East. I know that there will be few independent visitors (and not as many tour groups as in 2006) so all news will be particularly welcome.

If you are planning a visit then the 1996 report, 1997 report, 1998 report, 1999 report, 2000 report, 2001 report, 2002 report, 2003 report, 2004 report, 2005 report, 2006 report, 2007 report and 2009 report have lots more relevant information. All the loco numbers will not make sense if you do not have the complete roster of current and recent industrial steam locomotives in Java.

PT Keretapi News Contents

I ran 3 specials at Ambarawa using B2503, E1060 and C1218 as usual in August 2006 and tried to do the same in July 2008, although C1218 was a last minute failure. I have posted a page of pictures of C1218 at work in 2006.

Click here for the unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum website.

The first two pictures are of 2003 trains, but note that as Ambarawa is in the mountains, the weather may not always be kind, even in the dry season. 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

Regular logging trains ceased some time ago and much of the system has been lifted. The only way to see this unique operation was to organise your own special logging trains which I did regularly once or twice a year since 1997 and did again for a final time 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 2006 when we were restricted to the log yard owing to the damage to a bridge, despite appearances the locomotive could not move itself.....

Lokomotif kita

Locomotives of the Ambarawa Railway Museum

Click here for the main unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum Home Page. Photographs on this page are courtesy of John Tillman (JT), Nick Bryant (NB) or Rob Dickinson (RD).

Click here for a full list of preserved Indonesian main line steam locomotives.

Click here for more information about the steam locomotives at the Taman Mini Railway Museum.

Click here for more information about the other preserved steam locomotives in Java.

Click here for more information about the Java's forgotten steam locomotives.

Steam locomotives of the Perusahaan Negara Kereta-Api (PNKA) were numbered according to the Japanese system, with a letter to indicate the number of powered axles followed by two digits for the class (10-49 tank, 50 upwards tender locomotives), then the individual number. The locomotives at Ambarawa were brought here around 1977 at a time when steam was still in widespread use on the island of Java. Therefore, they were not always the best examples available.

Click on each thumbail for a larger image, then use the back button on your browser.

These are the active locomotives:

B2502 B2502



0-4-2RT Esslingen 3243/1902
B2503 B2503



0-4-2RT Esslingen 3244/1902
E1060 E1060



0-10-0RT Esslingen 5316/1966




2-6-0T Hartmann 2152/1896

These are preserved out of use:

B2014 B2014



0-4-0Tr Beyer Peacock 4634/1905
B2220 B2220



0-4-2T Hartmann 2568/1900
B2711 B2711



0-4-2T Hartmann 3757/1914
B5112 B5112



4-4-0 Hanomag 3866/1902
B5210 B5210



0-4-0 Hartmann 3484/1911




2-6-0T Hartmann 1759/1891




2-6-0T Hartmann 2736/1902
C1507 C1507



0-6-0T Werkspoor 17/1900
C1603 C1603



0-6-0T Hartmann 2718/1901
C1704 C1704



0-6-0T Hartmann 2773/1902
C1801 C1801



0-6-0T Hartmann 3160/1908
C2001 C2001



0-6-2T Hartmann 2792/1902
C2301 C2301



0-6-0T Hartmann 3164/1908
C2407 C2407



2-6-2T Werkspoor 216/1908
C2728 C2728



4-6-4T Werkspoor 472/1920
C2821 C2821



4-6-4T Henschel 18175/1921
C5101 C5101



4-6-0 Beyer Peacock 5593/1912
C5417 C5417



4-6-0 Beyer Peacock 6122/1922
D1007 D1007



0-8-0T Hartmann 3804/1914
D5106 D5106



2-8-2 Hartmann 4135/1920
F1002 F1002



2-12-2T Hanomag 6814/1913
BB1012 BB1012



0-4-4-2T Hartmann 3902/1906
CC5029 CC5029



2-6-6-0 Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik 3253/1928

Click here for the main unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum Home Page

Click for pictures and further information about the museum:

A Ride on the Ambarawa Rack Railway
Locomotive Shed Ambarawa Station
Southern Stations in the Ambarawa Area
(Jambu and Bedono)
Northern Stations in the Ambarawa Area
(Tuntang, Bringin and Kedungjati)
Restoring the North Line
(Part 1 - Ambarawa)
Restoring the North Line
(Part 2 - Out in the country)
A Glimpse of 'Real' Steam Non steam power
Carriage and Wagon Potential Carriage and Wagon
Ancilliary Equipment
A train in the Ambarawa Military Museum About the Museum

Ambarawa Sation

Ambarawa Station

Click here for the main unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum Home Page Photographs on this page are courtesy of Nick Bryant (NB), John Tillman (JT), Vincent Corasi (VC) and Rob Dickinson (RD).

See also:

Southern stations in the Ambarawa area Northern stations in the Ambarawa area

The 'jewel in the crown' is undoubtedly Ambarawa itself.

This is the first view that visitors get as they arrive. (2001 NB picture)

First sight

B2503 departs with the station (and its toilets) in the background - this was the 'standard gauge' side originally - on 21st July 2000 (RD)

Standard gauge side

This is the same side looking in (1997 VC picture)

The interior is a period piece. This is the 'cape gauge' side which is no longer in use. (1999 JT pictures)

Ambarawa Station

Ambarawa Station

Ambarawa Station

This is the period piece booking office: (NB 2001 pictures)

Ambarawa Station Booking Office

Ambarawa Station Booking Office

Lever frame:

Lever Frame

Telegraphic Office

Telegraphic Office

Among the other buildings is this 'godown' (gudang = wharehouse) used by the same company that rents Tuntang station. (2001 NB picture)


Finally the staff headed by Mr.Sudhono who maintain the museum site.

Station staff

Statsiun Kita

Southern Stations in the Ambarawa Area

Click here for the main unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum Home Page Photographs on this page are courtesy of Nick Bryant (NB) and John Tillman (JT).

See also:

Ambarawa station Northern stations in the Ambarawa area

Jambu is a small station at the foot of the rack. It suffered in storms in 2001 and needed urgent repairs which were undertaken with the support of the 'Friends of Ambarawa Museum'. This shows the station afterwards. (2002 NB pictures)

Jambu - post repair

Bedono station is larger than might be expected because it at the top of the rack section(s) and hence locomotives were turned here. (2001 JT picture)


The station from the rail side. (NB 2001 picture)


Close up of the turntable (NB 2001 picture)

Bedono turntable

Taking water at Bedono (NB 2001 picture)

Taking water at Bedono

Click here for the main unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum Home Page