The International Steam Pages

Those were the days... Wringinanom Sugar Mill

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Wringinanom was a mill where steam just hung on for many years and that could usually produce a daylight loaded cane train - conveniently it often ran nearer to sunset than those at Olean next door which meant that it could be fitted in as a glorious bonus shot on the way back to the hotel on the 'beach' at Pasir Puteh. Eventually rationalisation of working practices meant that all workings could be covered by diesels and the last 'real' workings were in 1999 although #6 was turned out on request for visitors for a couple of years after that.

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This shed scene was taken on 20th August 1990, but it could have been at any time over the roughly 20 years spanned by this gallery. 

I first came to Wringinanom on 30th May 1979, it was not yet 06.00 as we approached the level crossing west of the mill on the south line. Volumes of smoke to the left indicated a train of empties on the way and there was just enough time to stop the bus and dash across the bridge. The first train was headed by OK 0-8-0T #5, the bridge lasted longer than the steam loco, it perished in the floods of early 2008.

Wringinanom had several triangles on its extensive system so traditionally empties went out smokebox first. OK 0-8-0T #6 heads for the fields on 24th August 1988. 

The first daylight loaded cane train I ever saw at Wringinanom was on 31st July 1984. An overnight train had derailed just outside the mill and there was plenty of time to get ready for OK 0-8-0T #3 with Gunung Ringgitt behind - a volcano whose jagged rim indicates that it is a very long time since it erupted.

More typically, the sun would be on the other side of the locomotive for trains approaching the mill as with #6 on 24th August 1988. 

Further on from the river bridge on the south line there was a flat crossing with the main line branch to Panarukan. #7 eases over it in August 1995.  

The bridge just outside the mill must have been the best place in Java to wait for trains around sunset. #6 approaches on 20th August 1990.

In August 1995, #7 was halted for some time here allowing for a variety of angles and light conditions although it must have been frustrating for the videographers.

Even after sunset there were possibilities. On 15th August 1996, the keen photographers in my group were already on the beach as they had photographed #6 at the start of the journey. I missed that because the shed bashers were more interested in seeing the stored locomotives. However, when we finished there we found the train had been halted by the weighbridge for some time, and in the half light about half a film was exposed to try to get the exposure right.

On 12th August 1997, I was waiting for #7 well north of the mill when the whole train was enveloped in smoke as the untrimmed trash caught fire and threatened to engulf the cane. The train came to a quick halt and the crew waited for it to subside. 

Click here for the 'Those were the days' index page.

Rob Dickinson