The International Steam Pages

Steamy Java Sugar Mill Tour 2010, The Jewel in the Crown

This series of pages from July and August 2010 records our travels from China to Malaysia and on to Java, Indonesia where we were hosting the 'Steamy Java Tour 2010'. Click here for the main Winds of Change index page.

Back in 2002, I posted a set of pictures of the sugar mill at Olean which I considered (along with that at Gondang Baru) to be worthy of consideration as a World Heritage Site. I have deliberately not included similar material in the earlier report in what follows - all shot during our visit on the 2010 tour.

We spent the early morning and late afternoon with the steam locomotive hauled cane trains at Olean as described in my other blog page. As usual, I offered an initial whistle stop tour for those who wanted it and then left the group to their own devices while I quickly re-recorded the mill some eight years after my last survey. Necessarily there had been changes, but mercifully remarkably few.

Left out of the 2002 page was the Clarke Chapman steam winch, for the simple reason that I had missed it in my haste to get inside the mill. It is the only active such survivor and is used to pull in loaded cane loris the last few metres after they have been brought up from the storage sidings by one of the small diesels.

The first two engines inside the mill are the small cane carrier engine and this juice pump:

The main milling line is completely unchanged in eight years - see the 2002 page.. These are detailed shots of the crusher system, on the left the pre-crusher roll and top crusher, on the right the lower crusher. The jagged teeth are distinctively different from the mill rolls with their grooves. The engine which drives it is a standard Stork drop valve engine.

Next are two Fijenoord engines followed by a Werkspoor engine - like all the milling engines here they have drop valves. The final two engines are Storks.

This is the view from the end of the mill line, apart from the man in the orange shirt, it looks as if it was taken more than 80 years ago

The second large vertical juice pump (not shown again) is still working as is the small 1891 Fives-Lille engine for the bagasse carrier (below). This is the other active boiler feedwater pump.

Nearby are two lime pumps (left) and this handsome mud pump (right) which I did not include in the original selection:

The 1891 Fives-Lille vacuum pump is still active, the 1892 one seems to be in reserve, its work was being done by a similar machine brought from Asembagus although its vacuum cylinder is a later Stork replacement:

The air compressors came out of service some five years ago, but the Tangye and Marshall engines are still in use in the crystalisers area. The centrifugals are now driven by an electric motor although the Bellis and Morcom engine is still in situ. The second smaller Belliss driving the grasshopper system is, however, still in use.

Not shown here are a number of small simplex and duplex pumps scattered through the mill. One thing that never changes though is the totally relaxed attitude throughout:

The steam locomotives here (not to mention the field lines they work) will surely soon be history but I cannot completely rule out revisiting the mill on a private trip some time as long as it stays much as it is. In the meantime, there was just one more day to ease my party through... 

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson