The International Steam Pages


Case Notes - Steam in Indonesia in the 1980s, Part 3
Madiun and West Sumatra 1983

Terry Case writes about his travels for steam. Further tales will follow from time to time covering more of Australia, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Click here for the Case Notes Index.


Madiun August 1983

I was back at Madiun. little seemed to have changed since my previous visit, although the D52s were at a low ebb, 2 visible on shed, being repaired, 1 on shunts and 2 required for the Solo turns. The Kertsosono mixed was now rostered for diesel haulage. B50s ambled around on pilot duty, I spent time riding the local mixed trains to Solo hauled by D52s.

I had a pleasant afternoon cab riding D52093 working from Solo, en route we stopped to drop off some wagons and did a little shunting. We crossed the opposite working from Madiun running tender first, either the crew could not be bothered turning the engine or a turntable was temporarily out of action. Here D52093 awaits a cross.

Being an oil burner the engine only had a small firehole door which was kept open, every so often a flame flickering out. In other countries where I rode oil-burners they were usually worked with the firehole door closed and the small inspection hatch open. Occasionally the fire was cleaned by adding sand which caused fumes to briefly spread through the cab. The driver seemed quite young and drove his engine using the regulator, after setting the cut off with a wire to lock the reverser in position.

The train had to be worked at a reasonable speed to hold the schedule. I spent most of the ride behind the driver on the tender flap, catching the breeze. Some n.g crossovers were seen and factories for sugar lines, one with a diesel and two green steam locos visible. It was a pleasant way to see the Javan countryside and enjoy a steam locomotive at work.

The driver of D52093 takes it easy as he waits a cross whilst working a mixed to Madiun.

An express from Surabaya passes D52093

B50s remained in use at Madiun, B5004 prepares to work out to the air force base.

On my final morning in Madiun I found D52016 was shunting Germanic. I was surprised to find green liveried B5012 on shed, (I wondered if it had brought in a train from Slahung?). It was parked next to B5004 and it was good to see these two old veterans still had some work left in them. 

D52071 brought in the morning mixed from Solo at 8.50am.

The same train is seen pulling into the station after being held by signals.

Padang Pandjang August 1983

I flew to Padang and took a bus to Bukit Tinggi, the road ran close to the railway for much of the way, but no trains were sighted. The road twisted and turned through the jungle and was driven at the usual breakneck speed. A Kung Fu video was being played with the volume set to max. It slowly dawned on me the driver seemed to be paying a lot of attention to his mirrors, something of an oddity in Indonesia. I was horrified to find he had cunningly sighted mirrors so as to catch some of the video! Give me a train any time!

I checked the depot at Padang Pandjang that afternoon and thought I was in luck as three E10 rack engines were in light steam, including one of the older batch. Over the next three days I only saw one engine in use on a downhill working. It returned light leaving diesels in charge of what little uphill freight was on offer.

I was forced to join the backpackers on the tourist trail and had a good time here, including some hikes through the countryside, pity about the lack of steam!

Firstly E1063, one of the 'modern' E10s with Giesl ejector.

Secondly, one of the older E10s, E1016:

Busy doing nothing! The third E10 is another modern example.


Rob Dickinson

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