Scott Jesser reports on his explorations, of course steam finished here some
20 years ago. Use the links to view the other locations, in each case click the
thumbnails for larger images:
PT Socfin Indonesia’s Negeri Lama palm oil mill is 350 kilometres south-east of Medan, east of the town of Rantau Pratap in the Labuhan Batu Regency. The mill, established in 1928, produces 10,600 tonnes of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) and 1,800 tonnes of Palm Kernel (PK) each year.
An extensive 600mm gauge rail system is used to supply the mill with bunches of oil palm fruit, carried in 170 side-tipping skips described by the mill’s manager as baskets. The rail network is laid with short lengths of very light rail on steel sleepers, and is lightly ballasted with river stones.
Negeri Lama has five 47/51.5 horsepower Schöma CHL-20G four tonne 4wDH locomotives, built between 1984 and 2004 and numbered from 1 to 5. No.1 has been converted to a mechanical transmission with a chain drive while Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 retain their original hydrostatic transmissions with cardan shaft drive. All five still have their Schöma builder’s plates.
The locomotives are painted yellow with black frames, wheels and headstocks. Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 were in use on the system on Tuesday 11th April 2017, hauling trains with 21 to 25 baskets. No.3 was under repair with its torque converter and one wheelset removed. A 2-2wPMR vehicle, converted from a Yamaha “RX-King Fighting Spirit” motorcycle with a chain drive to the rear axle, is used by the mill to carry tools and welding equipment used for track maintenance.
At the mill, loaded baskets are run over a weighbridge and then pushed into the yard and around a tight balloon loop. The baskets are unloaded within the building and the bunches are then fed into elevators which feed vertical sterilizers.