Rabu, 19 Agustus 2009

The Ambarawa Railway Museum

The Ambarawa Railway Museum

This is the home page of the Ambarawa Railway Museum in Central Java, Indonesia.

Click here for links to the associated pages.

Click here for information for visitors.

Click here for latest news from Ambarawa (updated 30th November 2008).

The museum was established in the 1970s primarily to preserve a wide selection of the steam locomotives which were then coming to the end of their useful lives on the 3ft 6in (1067mm) gauge railways of the Indonesian State Railway (the then Perusahaan Negara Kereta-Api, PNKA). These are parked in the open air next to the original station, originally a transhipment point between the 4ft 8½in gauge branch from Kedungjati to the north-east and the 3ft 6in gauge line onward towards Yogyakarta via Magelang to the south. It is still possible to see that the two sides of the station were built to accommodate different size trains.

B2503 at Bedono in August 1999

Ambarawa lies some way above sea level and was an administrative centre for the Dutch colonialists. It is now a popular area for local tourists, particularly with the nearby hill station of Bandungan and the Hindu-Buddhist temples at Gedong Songo. Foreign tourists pass through the area particularly in conjunction with visiting the Buddhist temple at Borobudur. Hence the museum is well situated and its development into a world class site is not only desirable but feasible with the right kind of backing. Currently it is still part of the State Railway who have supported it to the best of its ability since formation although funding has never been generous. Now the provincial Government of Central Java is increasingly taking an interest from the point of view of its heritage significance and its potential as a tourist attraction. Non-Governmental bodies like the Semarang Heritage Society are also acting to assist and there is also an unofficial overseas group The Friends of Ambarawa Railway Museum'. Click here for information about visiting the museum.


The line towards Yogya (called 'south' on these pages although it actually runs roughly south-west from Ambarawa) was of particular interest because it contained sections of rack railway between Jambu and Secang, the only such operation in Java. This line beyond Bedono closed in the early 1970s after it was damaged in an earthquake, but had already lost most of its passenger traffic to buses on the parallel road. The line from Kedungjati (called 'north' on these pages because its ultimate destination was Semarang although it actually runs east initially from Ambarawa) survived into the middle 1970s but saw very little traffic near the end, not least because it was far quicker to travel more directly by road to Semarang. The presence of the rack line meant that there was probably never much through traffic from Semarang to Yogyakarta.

Rack Profile

Also kept was the original locomotive shed which for over 25 years has served as the operational base for a service to Jambu and up the rack to Bedono. This has always operated as a 'charter train on demand' service. For many years it ran only a few times a year, but now it is extremely popular and during the dry season between June and August trains tend to run almost every day. Currently four locomotives are serviceable, the 2 B25 0-4-2T (B2502/3) are from the original fleet of 5 supplied to the line about 100 years ago. (A third locomotive (B2501) is preserved in a park in the town nearby.) The E10 0-10-0T E1060 was originally delivered to West Sumatra in the 1960s for working the coal railway there but was brought to Java a few years ago. It cannot (yet) go up the rack section. Similarly, conventional locomotive C1218 which was restored to working order in 2006.

The line north to Tuntang was left in place when the service was withdrawn and it is currently being reinstated (Part I - Ambarawa and Part II - out in the country). The trackbed onwards to Kedungjati is still largely in place but it would be an extremely expensive job to restore it.

Although the staff are all employees of the railway, most have been at the Museum for many years and are unlikely to leave before retirement. This shows Mr. Sudhono (stationmaster) and his staff:

Museum Staff

Mr. Pudji (loco foreman) and his staff:

Locoshed Staff

A small group of regular visitors to Java established an informal 'Friends of the Ambarawa Railway Museum. Click here for more information.

John Tillman

John was the moving force behind the establishment of the Friends of the Ambarawa Railway Museum. He had established all the contacts with the Semarang Heritage Society and the railway authorities in Semarang and over the last couple of years had devoted a significant amount of time and money in helping make influential Indonesians aware of the value of their transport and industrial heritage. As this web page was nearing completion, news came in of John's death (January 2002). He had been a good friend of mine for over 25 years and it came as a terrible shock to me. My daughter described him as a 'lovely, lovely man', an epitaph I could not better.

2 komentar:

  1. You seem to have 'borrowed' material from my website (internationalsteam.co.uk) without asking permission. Now that the pictures no longer display perhaps you could take it all down?

    Rob Dickinson

  2. You seem to have 'borrowed' material from my website (internationalsteam.co.uk) without asking permission. Now that the pictures no longer display perhaps you could take it all down?

    Rob Dickinson