The International Steam Pages

An Indonesian Steam Photographic Archive

PNKA Wallahs - Tony Ford's archive of Indonesian steam 1968 - 1971.

PNKA Steam Locomotive Diagrams - now available!

Back in 1998-1999 when most gricers had yet to start their internet experience, I gathered together a large number of slide scans from visitors to Indonesia. Friends and people who were soon to be friends helped me produce our Images of Rail CD-ROM Incredible Indonesia. I spent a small fortune to travel round England to scan or collect much valued slides and in just a few cases, the slides came to me, even though on occasions we had to resort to courier services. Of course, we (Nigel Lawrence and I) didn't make any money on the project, sales barely made three figures, but it was great fun and, as a result, I have the basis of a unique archive.

Already to my knowledge, at least six of the contributors have gone to the 'great locoshed in the sky'. Now before it is too late, I would like to expand that archive to include the work of other photographers who saw the 'Iron Dinosaurs' in action in the late 1960s and early/mid 1970s. The closing years are well covered by what I already have and by then the number of lines with any steam operation was very limited. I would like to upgrade the existing CD-ROM (the images need to be made compatible with today's larger screens) and at the same time try to produce something that can be handed over to the Indonesian Railways (PTKA) now that they have a heritage officer and department.

Dusty Durrant was not the first enthusiast to photograph Indonesian steam after the country opened up when Sukarno was deposed. Frank Stamford was probably the first 'overseas' visitor and he spent 11 days there in June 1968 on his way from Australia to Europe and he wrote about it at length in the long defunct journal 'Green over Red' in an article which appeared in May 1969. Tony Ford and Michael Egan were based with the British Embassy in Jakarta and travelled through Java and Sumatra from 1968 onwards on a series of investigative journeys. Only recently have I realised just how much they saw and photographed as I have been able to scan most of Tony's slides. Sadly, Michael died some years ago and I would dearly love to know what happened to his photographic collection. Tony says his wife Evelyn (Wiewiek) stayed on in the UK and his son Iwan (possibly Irwan or Ivan) was training to be a pilot, so if you know anyone who fits that description please point him at this page, the family lived in Maidstone, Kent, UK 20 years ago. The late Jim Comber was based in East Java at the same time, he was not an enthusiast but he did take some steam slides for his brother Richard who has passed them to me. Andrew Smith visited the Aceh Tramway in 1969 armed with a very basic B/W camera and deserves a medal for travelling its whole length (and back) and Geoff Todd visited it in the same year, mainly to take cine. No doubt there were others and, again, if you know any of them, please point them in my direction.

These are the other early visitors I am aware of by year.

1970 - Dusty and Christine Durrant. Dusty took only black and white photographs many of which have been published (Power Parade and Loco Uap). I believe his collection is in private hands.

1971 - Dusty returned and was variously accompanied by Basil Roberts, Victor Hand, Alan Jorgensen and Peter Hodge. I have scans of slides from Java (Basil) and North Sumatra and Aceh (Peter).

1972 - I know of the following visitors, I am very grateful to those (@) who have allowed me to scan their slides or have subsequently promised to let me do so:

  • Lawrence Marshall (@)
  • Chris Wilkinson (@)
  • Blake Paterson (@) with Chris Gammell
  • Rob Kingsford Smith (@) and Shane O'Neill


  • John Tillman (@)
  • LCGB group including Rod Farr (@) and Peter Michie (@)
  • Australian 'Steam Up' group - I am looking to get high quality scans from people on this tour including Bob Wilson (@)
  • 'World Steam' party including Geoff Plumb (@) see the Java gallery here here for a mouth watering selection and as of December 2011 check the latest additions too. Was any other reader on this trip? 


  • Chris Halliwell (@)
  • Stuart Hammond (@)

1975 - Two Dorridge Travel Groups, I would like to get high quality scans from those who travelled with David Ibbotson such as Michael Whitehouse (@) as opposed to those who, like me, were with Ted Talbot.

1976-1978 - I did further bashes - the 1976 trip is described on this site - but the numbers of other visitors was very small.

1979 onwards saw more frequent tour groups, particularly with Railway Travel and Photography and various continental operators. 

If you can help, please do not hesitate to get in touch, the email address is below.

Here are some pictures as a 'taster' of what is a very interesting survey from the Tony Ford collection of steam (and other) locomotives in Java and Sumatra ca 1970.

Click here for PNKA Wallahs

These are also automatic 'extras' for the upgraded CD-ROM and there are plenty more!

Finally in blatant personal self-interest I present the following from the Tony Ford (photographic) collection. I (RD) have a number of worksplate from Indonesia which are a very tangible souvenir from my many visits although they are relatively recent acquisitions. None date from my own wanderings on PNKA (PJKA as it had become) in the 1970s and 1980s as I simply had no way to carry such things as I travelled around the islands by train and bus. No such collection is ever complete and I am always looking for additions, such items are not cheap and I am willing to pay sensible prices to fill the gaps on the wall. My email address is below.

Of course, if you think you know your stuff, you can try to work which locomotives each plate comes from... The answers, of course, are in Durrant's Power Parade book or you can click the thumbnails.

Rob Dickinson