Part 6 : Surakarta, Klaten & Yogyakarta

If you love steam locos, you would definitely love Central Java. PTPN IX did a good job of maintaining their iron dinosaurs up to the present day. Many sugar mills that are under the management of PTPN IX still run steam locos up to the present day for their daily sugar mills operational. A lot of the steam locos are located on the North Coast of Central Java, but we will get to that later. First let us start on the Southern Coast of Central Java. I will take you on a journey from Surakarta (or Solo), to Klaten and then to the Special Province of Yogyakarta. As for Yogyakarta, there is the Madukismo Sugar Mill which was built in 1955 after Indonesia gained their independence. It is run by a private company, PT. PG Madubaru.

Surakarta (Solo)
In Surakarta, there were two huge sugar mills which were owned by the Sultan Kasunanan of Surakarta (the Prince of Surakarta, which during the period of Dutch East Indies government was seen as a high class residence) which are now taken over by PTPN IX. Those sugar mills were Colomadu and Tasikmadu. Colomadu went bankrupt during the fall of Suharto’s regime, but Tasikmadu still operates until today. All the properties that were belonged to Colomadu Sugar Mill are now transferred to Tasikmadu Sugar Mill, including the steam locos.

Many of the transferred steam locos from Colomadu are reportedly still in working conditions until today, and those are the No.5 O&K 0-8-0T and the No.7 Henschel 0-8-0T steam locos. Besides from those two, you also get to see the main attraction of Tasikmadu Sugar Mill, which is the No.6 (VI) “Big Boy Luthermoller” 0-10-0T steam loco, which has been repainted from green to black. Tasikmadu Sugar Mill also runs a tourist train which is also operated by a steam loco. The steam loco that used to run the field line is now changed to operate the tourist train. The steam loco that is used to operate the tourist train is the No.3 A. Borsig 0-4-2T steam loco. Tasikmadu Sugar Mill last saw the operation of their field line in 1997, so today they do not operate their field lines anymore. But there is still plenty of things to see here, and it is a place that you definitely would not want to miss. Another drastic decrease as the course of time passed by is the number of regular used steam locos. Up until 2013, it was reportedly that 'normal' conditions still happened at Tasikmadu, and by 'normal', this means that the condition did not change much from the previous years. However, 2014 and 2015 were reportedly that the huge TM VI was the sole worker. And in 2016, it just got worse. Reportedly due to the price of teak firewoods increased drastically, and the steam locomotive driver was getting old and there were nobody else to replace him, the mill had to retire the huge TM VI and converted full to tractors. The only steams that worked are the regular tourist trains. The TM VI is still available to charter, however the charter price is rather an amazing one, despite the length of the track that it can run on.

No.3 Borsig 0-4-2T (ex Colomadu) works the regular tourist train, as it takes on a curve just around the mill. Photo dated 2016.

Another regular with the tourist train is this no.1 O&K 0-6-0T, as it returns to the shed in the afternoon after a day's work. Photo dated 2016.

On to the yard shunter, is this no.5 O&K built 0-8-0T, working the empties just round the back of the mill. Photo dated 2012.

Of course, back then, and up until 2015, Tasikmadu wouldn’t be complete without its star performer, the huge TM VI O&K 0-10-0T Luthermoller. Here it is seen waiting on the crane for the next set of canes delivered on road by trucks. Photo dated 2012.

Lucky me, I still managed to capture a slight action of both the TM V and TM VI during my 2012 visit, which can be seen below.

Just like Surakarta, Klaten also used to have 2 sugar mills, which were Ceper Baru and Gondang Winangon. Ceper Baru went bankrupt due to internal corruptions and many of their cane fields changed into houses and factories. Since they are getting less canes and operational costs were too high, they decided to shut down the mill. Today, parts of their cane fields that were remaining are taken over by Gondang Winangon Sugar Mill, the only sugar mill remaining in Klaten. Gondang Winangon now only operates diesel locos, but they operate steam locos for their tourist train only on Sundays, depending on the demand. Perhaps if you have extra money up your wallet, they could fire it up for you on the spot.

A DII middle cabin Schoema 0-6-0 4wDM diesel is waiting in the yard to push the next canes to the cane table under the cloudy weather of Klaten. Photo dated 2012.

Another unique additional feature of Gondang Sugar Mill today is they have a museum. Besides of having a display of the former 1st Batch of Oost Java Stoomtram (OJS) or East Java Steamtram (Surabaya's 1st built Steamtram) steam locomotive, they also have a display of a Deutz diesel, something that has becoming rare today as a lot of these diesels have been scrapped in the past. Photo dated 2012.

Before moving onto the next mill, as mentioned earlier, depending on the demands, every Sundays they have the no.8 O&K 0-8-0T (former Rendeng) being steamed for tourist trains. The loco had been broken for some time, but I found a video on Youtube dated September 2016 showing that the loco had been back on regular Sunday service. You can also charter this on arrangements from PTPN IX.

P.S. Even though I have uploaded a video of the tourist steamtrain, I decided not to embed it here because of the lack of off the train shots, mostly were taken onboard. I will get it updated as soon as I shot the new video here.

Bantul (Special Province of Yogyakarta)
In Bantul, you have the Madukismo Sugar Mill. During Indonesia’s Independence War, Yogyakarta was badly destroyed, including the many sugar mills that were there. After Indonesia got their independence, Indonesia’s first president Sukarno made an agreement with East Germany as part of their partnership since both countries were communists, to rebuild one huge sugar mill to replace all the sugar mills that were destroyed in Yogyakarta, which was the Madukismo Sugar Mill. East Germany also build their field lines and supplied all the diesel locos, hence this is why all the diesels in Madukismo Sugar Mill are all the same, which are Karl Marx Babbelsberg (or known as VEB) diesel locos.

No.8 Karl Marx Babbelsberg diesel loco shunting the empties just across the street from the front gate of Madukismo Sugar Mill. Photo dated 2012.

No.1 Karl Marx Babbelsber (VEB) diesel loco with a load of canes by the former outside weighbridge. Photo dated 2015.

No.'s 1 and 3 VEB's both lay idle, as 3 prepares to push the canes towards inside the mill, and as 1 takes a quick break after working the empties from inside the mill to the truck delivery crane. Photo dated 2015.

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