The International Steam Pages

A Ride on the Ambarawa Rack Railway

Click here for the main unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum Home Page. Photographs on this page are courtesy of Rob Dickinson and were taken between 1998 and 2001.

The only serviceable steam locomotives from the main line railway in Indonesia are three rack tanks at Ambarawa which are available for charter trains. The line runs from Ambarawa to Jambu along the flat, through attractive countryside before making a spectacular climb to Bedono. Run-pasts are not available on the climb owing to insufficient water capacity but they are allowed on the flat section and during the descent. I run special trains here every year and although they are intended (of course) for my tour participants, casual visitors are welcome to join.

The 2 B25 0-4-2T (B2502/3) are from the original fleet of 5 supplied to the line about 100 years ago. A third locomotive (B2501) is preserved in a park in the town nearby. The E10 0-10-0T E1060 was originally delivered to West Sumatra in the 1960s for working the coal railway there but was brought to Java a few years ago, later it was returned to West Sumatra for the railway museum at Sawahlunto.

There are plans to restore the railway north along the lake (Rawa Pening) as far as Tuntang (Part I - Ambarawa and Part II - out in the country). The trackbed is more or less unobstructed and in July 2001, the provincial Government of Central Java allocated funds for this purpose. Completion is now scheduled for late 2010.

All pictures show a B25 unless otherwise indicated:

E1060 leaving Ambarawa with Merbabu behind:

E10 in the mountains

E10 in the mountains

E1060 at work between Ambarawa and Jambu :

Ambarawa village scene

Jambu E10 arrival

Jambu arrival

:Leaving Jambu to join the rack section:

B2503 leaves Jambu

The same view from the opposite side with E1060:

West Sumatra 1970? No, Ambarawa 1998

Climbing from Jambu - the second locomotive was a personal indulgence!

B25 double

Climbing from Jambu:

Ambarawa B25

Taking water at Bedono after the ascent:

Ambarawa B25

Descending in the late afternoon

B25 at sunset

Duck run past for the E10 on the way back into Ambarawa:

Ducks on parade

Click here for the main unofficial Ambarawa Railway Museum Home Page

Click for pictures and further information about the museum:

Rob Dickinson