The International Steam Pages

A Steam Crane Survivor in Java

Not steam power, but definitely steam age are some rail borne cranes from Wilson of Liverpool, UK. Click here for information.

One amazing survivor of the steam age is a FIGEE steam crane at Manggarai Works in Jakarta, confirmed still present in 2008. Chris Capewell (who is my steam crane guru) writes:

This is probably one of a very few breakdown cranes FIGEE ever made I have but one record of a breakdown crane by an unknown builder for NS, and that apparently did not survive WW2. I doubt that any more were built for Java; the pair of hand powered Wilsons (I will try to locate pictures of these for uploading) were delivered shortly afterwards. It is also one of a very few FIGEE cranes, and fewer rail cranes, surviving. I would indeed state that the FIGEE crane in Java is a unique survivor; but not yet actually proven as a unique crane. It has some features similar to similar British cranes of the time, but differs significantly in one important respect the use of inside cylinders. I would certainly propose to the railway administration that it should be preserved and cosmetically restored for exhibition.

The builders plate date of 1916 is interesting as at that time the Netherlands was a neutral country but cut off by both warring sides blockades from using its own ports for exports. Was it delivered via Germany and an Adriatic port, or not actually until late 1918, or 1919?

A historical PS is that FIGEE were bankrupt in 2005; and are now part of Kenz-Figee, specialising in offshore and harbour cranes; the works office building has been converted into expensive flats, with river views!

The 3 recent pictures are courtesy of Jim Ballantine 2006), the works picture of the crane comes from the PTKA Bandung archives.

With a little bit of spare time on 30th July 2008, I took my Steamy Java 2008 tour group round PTKA Jember locoshed. We found a lot of not very busy diesels and this rail crane. Apparently it was originally hand operated but has now been modified with a small diesel engine.

Lie Tjeng Chiao says that up to five of these were delivered and photographed another one of these at Yogya works some time ago.

It is possible that this is the crane now preserved in a park near the Gubeng wagon works in Surabaya. 

Rob and Yuehong  Dickinson