The International Steam Pages

Java Sugar Steam 2003 - Far Eastern Mills

These mills are run by PTP Nusantara XI, formed in 1996 by the amalgamation of PTP XX and PTP XXIV/XXV. These mills were previously PNP XXIV/XXV and before that PNP XXIV and PNP XXV. The Situbondo area is definitely 'unspoiled Java', with facilities at the beach 'resort' of Pasir Puteh to match - in other words, gricers' heaven. If you want luxury, then try the new Hotel Rosali in Situbondo itself. For Semboro, stay in Jember which has hotels for all pockets, unfortunately there is nowhere to stay in Tanggul. Of course, Olean has long been firmly in my top few mills.

I think Panji, Wringinanom and Asembagus have the best medium term prospects of survival.  In 1999/2000, even around Olean I could see much less new cane, although 2001/2 saw some recovery. All of which amounts to bad news for the steam locos. One final small word of warning, many of the working girls at Pasir Puteh are more 'working' than 'girl'....

33. KEDAWUNG Mill Index

After some years of running special trains here with OK 14 and Breda 16, I have given up because the management will not plough the income I generate into minimal maintenance. This is what happened to 14 in 2001, 16 was not even lit up... I believe a Japanese group got 14 in action at the end of June 2002. I did ask the mill to steam a loco for my 2003 group, but they declined to do so.

Kedawung 14 expires

34. WONOLANGAN Mill Index

Steam could best be described as 'long out of use'. One locomotive was allegedly serviceable in 2001 but there was a huge hole in its spark arrestor chimney and no doubt several others in more critical areas. I do not normally include pictures of out of use locomotives, but the small 30HP Mallet here is a delight:

Wonolangan 7

35. GENDING Mill Index

The four steam locos here spent most of the last ten years in store although in the early 90s a couple were used occasionally as some kind of job creation scheme. The cost of annual boiler inspections put a stop to this.  OK Mallet 4 is now at the Frankfurter Feldbahnmuseum, the other three are still stored in the shed. 

36. PAJARAKAN Mill Index

There is no possibility of the two remaining steam locos being put back into action.

37. JATIROTO Mill Index

This mill has had the biggest collection of disused and dismantled locos in Java for many years.

38. SEMBORO Mill Index

Firelesses 2 and 3 were working as usual behind the mill (in a livery which was a 20 year old throw back), but there is no longer any active conventional real steam here. Jung 0-6-0T 29 is usually serviceable and usually but not always one of the OK 0-4-4-0T Mallets. On 3rd August I again chartered 15 for a tour of the fields, 29 being steamed as backup. Unlike 2002, we were blessed with fine weather.

Semboro firelesses

15 with Semeru behind

39. DE MAAS Mill Index

This mill did not work in 2000 and will remain closed. The two locos are still here in the shed (although 3 has gone to Asembagus).

40. WRINGINANOM Mill Index

In 2002, I asked the management to repair 6 for my group visit (it would take about a week according to shed staff) but they declined.  This must be the end of steam here.

41. OLEAN Mill Index

Visiting Olean in 2009? Need some help with transport to chase the trains?
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There is a mill system map on the Olean Heritage Page. Click here for more Olean 2002 steam action. Keep your fingers crossed because with the disastrous situation in Cuba and the field lines closed at Trangkil, this has to be the best steam operated sugar mill railway left in the world today (Sragi is different and it is unfair to compare the two). Why so few people come here has long been lost on me but at least it keeps the place unspoiled. In 2003, the locos were burning wood until September by which time there was a significant bagasse surplus. Irregular supplies of wood (and its high cost) led to blank days.

On 4th July, I found the mill working normally, in other words OK 0-8-0T 1, 4, 5 and 7 all worked daylight loaded trains back to the mill and I rode two of them. The next day also saw four daylight trains although those from Semering were delayed while a chain saw was found to clear a tree which was fouling 4's tender which is bigger than 5's which went this way the day before.... 

Chain saw massacre

Bringing up cane loris on 6th August:

Water buffalos on the job

4 coming in from Gelung on 4th July:

4 near Gelung

These next pictures show 5 coming in from Semiring on 4th July:

5 near Semiring

on board 5

on board 5

5 near Karangmalang

4 approaching Karang Malang on 5th July:

4 near Karangmalang

I spent 10 days in the Situbondo in late September, enjoying the ambience and all the opportunities offered in this unspoiled area. I spent the mornings in Olean/Wringinanom mills researching and most afternoons riding the trains. Words and pictures alone cannot describe the overall experience, I was very sad to leave all my friends here, it really is very special in every sense and I cannot wait to get back next year.... Apart from a couple of days when a crusher roller in the mill failed catastrophically and there was little activity, all four locomotives were out most days. They tended to get back earlier than I would have liked (before 15.00) but the track here is in poor condition and the odd derailment led to delays - unfortunately often too long to benefit the photographer. The really good news is that it has been a good season for the mill which expects to remain open into November, production is likely to be up 50% which will restore it to pre-1999 levels. However, this is the smallest mill in Java and its future is anything but guaranteed, don't say you have not been warned. Every visitor leaves here totally entranced.

42. PANJI Mill Index

I dropped by in August 1999 and it was quite clear that there is now no prospect of any of the steam locos here running again. I had previously described the locos here as 'stored' and although superficially they look OK, most of the non-ferrous fittings have been removed for the other mills in the area. For those who like that kind of thing (I would use the word 'pervert' but that is what my ex-wife calls me) then the little diesels look quite nice on the road side field trains. 

This is Panji 7 with its unusual motion...

Panji 7

43. PRAJEKAN Mill Index

The serviceable smaller locos were reallocated to De Maas and Asembagus some years ago. The other locos remain in store, a tragic end for the magnificent Luttermöllers.

44. ASEMBAGUS Mill Index

In 2002, 5 had expired with boiler failure, 0-8-0T 3 was renumbered 10 and 0-6-0T De Maas 3 (2) was here as 11. 11 was still a runner in 2003, while the frames of 5 have been put together with the boiler of 10 to make another 'new' loco which also carries the number 10. Click here for my 2002 private afternoon at Asembagus.

I spent 3 days here in July, commuting to Olean until finally 10 ran...

10 on the south line

10 on the south line

A cloud covered Gunung Baluran is behind the bullocks. 

bullocks on the south line

Final return was at sunset, although the locomotive later made a second trip to the fields.

10 on the south line

My group visited on 5th August as this was a blank afternoon at Olean. 11 ran with a short train on the south line:

11 on the south line

On 6th August, I had asked the mill to provide a box van train as usual, but it did not materialise. We got a train, however, on 7th August, but the condition of the track in the mill meant that we suffered three derailments and lost half our load...


By now 11 was under repair for leaking tubes:

Repairs to 11

And here is 10 going through its paces on the 'forest line':

10 on the forest line

I spent an afternoon here in September when Olean was shut down by the crusher failure. 10 was working the south line, as photogenic as ever although I was more interested in just sitting and revelling in the sight in 2003.

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Rob and Yuehong Dickinson