The International Steam Pages

Steamy Java Sugar Mill Tour 2010, The Fat Lady Sings

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.

After Wringinanom, there was time for a short visit to Panji, which is some way in steam quality below our two previous mills. After the unigrator there are two large Werskpoor dual drive engines said to be of 450HP which equal the Storks at Kanigoro as the most powerful mill engines in Java. The first (left) was rather leaky, the second (right) ran rather better.

After that, there is not much left, the most interesting horizontal steam engine is this 1921 Werkspoor vacuum pump, with 'fixed' cut off and an unusual governor.

There is a group of five juice pumps nearby, the most interesting of which is shown on the left below. In the power house, an old direct drive Oerliken steam turbine was at work - the only other vintage turbine seen active in 2010 was at Gondang Baru.

One of the saddest sights at Panji was this group of vertical pumps stored serviceable - the mill cannot produce enough steam to run them. Some are from Fletcher of Derby, UK.

The last mill on the tour was Asembagus, one I had skipped on the 2006 ISSES trip in favour of half a day in the fields at Olean, but this year there was indeed time to schedule a short visit. The main items of interest here are three large milling engines, two from Stork (350HP) and one from Halle (300HP). Every time I come I am told they will be replaced 'next year' but somehow they soldier on. The Halle (lower) sounded particularly 'rough'.

The only other steam engine left is this boiler feed water pump which also has Halle characteristics:

The steam loco group had more interest in what was going on outside the mill, where for an appropriate payment, OK 0-8-0 #10 was (guaranteed to be) in use. It's a handsome beast which worked at Prajekan for a long time. Here it is seen before leaving for the south line. When the stationary steam group finally tracked it down, it did seem that we would get only the bullocks in action as cutting was remote from the permanent line and the locomotive was skulking behind some mature cane. However, just in time enough loris to make a short train load appeared which together with some unwanted empties were run down to the mill just before sunset.

If this turns out to be my last picture of a field train in Java, then that's a good way to finish, even if I could hardly claim it to be totally 'real'.

Afterwards we adjourned to the Rumah Makan Kurnia in town where we were served the third sumptuous banquet in succession, with service to match. Here is Yuehong with our gracious host (left) and on the right one surprised participant discovers that another big birthday will not be allowed to pass unnoticed:

Not far from here, the Rumah Makan Malang served us well at lunchtimes. I wish I could say the same of the Hotel Rosali where everyone smiles, the rooms are still in fair condition but the initial signs of decay are apparent - it's an early version of the hotels in Madiun and Kediri. However, the breakfast was abysmal (in marked contrast to our previous hotel, the Ratna in Probolinggo) and when we came to settle the bill, we discovered that they were trying to charge us GBP 100 more than we had originally agreed to pay. If I had not had the receipt for my deposit from May with our discount clearly marked on it, then it would have been a most unpleasant scene. As it was they have been blessed with Mr. Rob's curse and Yuehong and I will be in the Ramayana next to the bus station should we come back. It's not the best hotel in the world, far from it, but there you get what you pay for and it is good value with a great location.

So ends yet another Java tour, half will fly home almost immediately, most of the rest will go with John Raby on a glutton's tour for more of the same and Yuehong and I will adjourn to the south coast of Java to a small place on the beach where there is absolutely no internet access at all.

As Kenneth Wolstenhome once said, "... they think it's all over... ...It is now.".

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson