The International Steam Pages

The Ambarawa Railway Museum Makeover, 2015

The Ambarawa Railway Museum has always had the potential to be a world class operation but for nearly 40 years it was little more than an active locomotive shed, a magnificent station and a large steam locomotive park where the hulks got an occasional lick of paint to hide the rust. Now it has a major renovation and in particular the locomotives have some shelter from the elements. Damar Ananggadipa reports on his visit on 26th July 2015.

The museum layout has changed since the last time I went there (October 2014). The track from locomotive shop to the west platform has been completed, and is currently used to store the museum collection of static locomotives and some rolling stock. There are some new buildings and facilities, like a new toilet and a small mosque.

The locomotive shed now become the museum main gate. All five locomotive allocated  are nominally serviceable, although B2503 is still undergoing some repairs. At the moment, D30124 is being used to haul trains to Tuntang, with 3 passenger coach which originally used on the rack section of the line. From May 2015, diesel-hauled train runs to Tuntang twice everyday, at 10.00 and 12.00, with a third run at 14.00 on Sundays and National Holidays. The steam-hauled train to Tuntang or Bedono is 'by-request' and the cost is such that only groups can afford it. The other two steam locomotives are B2502 and B5112 and the other diesel D30023.

There are 3 groups of full size exhibits currently displayed. Nearest to the locomotive shed is a row of smaller tank engine. Further from the shed, the track splits, one goes to the station platform, the other one crosses the courtyard near the newly built hallway. The track nearest to the station holds three trains (i.e. locomotives coupled to rolling stocks), while the other track holds the larger tank and tender engines. All the engines displayed have been repainted and fitted with new number plates (which was made of plastic or fibreglass, not from real metal). The smaller engines' steam dome are painted in bright brass gold.

Further to the south side of the museum, there are two small wooden buildings which seems to be an authentic station building (or halte) which were used on branch or tramlines. Some rolling stock for future restoration and a scrap metal dump are now being placed there, hidden from the visitors' view. These include a crane, three open wagons and two inspection motorcars or lori. 

Inside the station, there are some railway equipment and lots of locomotive models stored inside the display room. These models feature some 'extinct' locomotive, such as the NIS saddle tank, CC10, DD51 and some Aceh and North Sumatra locomotives.

The 2 diagrams below show the layout of the locomotive shed and the station:

1: red - main gate; light blue - operational locomotives; black - static locomotives; yellow - operational carriages; green - static rolling stocks (a 4-wheel passenger carriage and a steel boxcar); grey - walkway

2: black - locomotives; green - rolling stocks; orange - a railway timeline infographic (near the F10), railway equipment exhibit and display room (inside station building):

On map 2, near the station building there are three train consist; from left to right: D51 with two steel boxcar; C24 with 1* Guards Van ('Madurese Sultanate' from Surabay Gubendg Works), 2* 4-wheel passenger carriage (which comes from Temanggung fitted with 3' 6" bogie, there is a standard gauge set from Manggarai Works, Jakarta outside the locomotive shed), and 3* a wooden boxcar; C12 with water tank car (PBR from Sidotopo) and diesel fuel tank car (KR).

On the other hand, the Tuntang-Kedungjati line has not been completed and currently no new locomotives are scheduled to be repaired for train operation.

I have tried to choose pictures that show the dramatic changes rather than simply re-illustrate the exhibits, but with the exception of the 'reserve' referred to above just about everything has been given at least a new coat of paint. The addition of the roof may be excellent for conservation but it makes for challenging photogrpahy.

The shed visible from the main road over the level crossing, with outbuildings removed. This is now the main entrance to the museum:

Initial view of the small locomotive line up:

View back of the same:

Looking back towards the shed:

C1240 and train with larger locomotives behind:

The former locomotive park is now an open courtyard. Note the relaid track into the station:

D5106 on its short train:

CC5029 with the station behind:

B2014 among the smaller locomotives

Range of models:

Signalling equipment:

Rob Dickinson