The International Steam Pages

Once upon a time, long ago,
Java Sugar Mills, 1983

Wilson Lythgoe has been circulating friends with some steam pictures taken some time back and with his permission and encouragement they are reproduced on these pages and will be added to from time to time. Click here for the index.

Kalibagor and De Maas Sugar Mills

My visits to two Javan Sugar Mills were unplanned, unscripted and only happened because I was passing by and thought ' it could be a good idea time permitting'! It all came about when I was up in Java in the middle of 1983 looking for the last of the working steam engines on the Indonesian Railway system......... 

Pabrik Gula Kalibagor

I was staying in Kroya where there were said to be three steamers (D52 2-8-2) a day going out on the main line. It turned out to be only one and that left while it was still dark! By the time I'd checked out the shed and yard there was a long day in front of me with nothing much to do so headed off to see the loco graveyard at Purwokerto, a short bus trip away. About half way there the bus passed a sugar mill with a loco pottering around roadside. Purwokerto was worthwhile with a large graveyard plus, as a bonus, a steamer shunting the yard but some obnoxious kids eventually proved too much so headed off. The returning bus went past the mill again so on impulse jumped off.

No 6 named Baletoeri, an 0-8-0T built by Orenstein & Koppel in 1920. Firstly shunting the yard and then moving alongside the main road with empty wagons. Later, No 6 was moved to Gondang Baru near Klaten and I understand has now been plinthed in Solo, outside the area sugar mill HQ.

Pabrik Gula De Maas

When I first arrived in Indonesia I travelled by bus from Bali to Surabaya and along the coast had seen a number of narrow gauge tracks around Siitubondo. There was one that passed near some nice looking beach-side hotels at Pasir Puteh and three weeks later on the way back I decided to stop off and check the tracks out. It wasn't until a couple of weeks ago as I scanned these slides, and started looking for some details, that I discovered the mill was called De Maas. I found this out by comparing engine numbers and wheel arrangements with details on this website.

I arrived early evening so spent the following morning trackside before continuing on to Bali. It was a worthwhile stop as an amazing variety of little engines came along, stopped for water and then continued on their way into the fields.

No 5, an 0-4-0T from Maffei in 1920, sits crewless in the early morning sunshine. The tank above the boiler holds fuel oil and the blue "tender' water.

No 8, an 0-4-2T built by Orenstein & Koppel in 1908. There seems to be no identification on the engine and I would have just accepted the number on the tender as being the engine number! 

An unidentified 0-6-0T! Or at least I didn't identify it back in 1983 and Rob's list didn't show De Maas as having an 0-6-0T. An email to him and the answer came back: 
"....... this is OK 0-6-0T 9459/1920 – its proper rectangular OK plate with no number is on the cabside. It had a relatively recent replacement boiler, you can just see a thin rectangular strip on the smoke box door with the company’s name on it. While at De Maas it was variously numbered 2 and 3, most likely it was 2 when this picture was taken in the early 1980s. After the mill closed it was transferred to Asembagus where it still works as their 11"

No 1, with the name plate 'Dodo' on its tank, was another Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-2T this one built in 1909. It takes both crew to water to climb the ladder and turn the tap on and off: the other to direct the hose into the tender. Sometime later 1 returns from the fields with an extremely short train. A friendly wave from the crew and that was the end of my Javan sugar trains experience!

Looking back at these pictures, and since having checked out some of the photos found from the links on the "Those were the days - Sweet Dreams" area of this website, I reckon I made a big mistake in not taking more of an interest in the Javan Sugar Mills. Specifically there is a page of pictures of the De Maas system the De Maas system taken some years later.

Rob Dickinson