Part 5 : Madiun

Madiun maybe a small town, with its region located in a remote area. But Madiun is also a region with the right topography to set up sugarcane plantations. Located between the teak forest and on the feet of the Lawu Mountain, this makes the land around Madiun very fertile and it also gives a good water irrigation system. Thus it makes it easy to plant and grow sugarcanes, and hence this is why the Dutch merchants at the time decided to set up and built many sugar mills around the area of Madiun.

First of all, before I start wondering anywhere, I can't afford to miss the sight of C2606 0-6-0T built by Henschel steam loco of the former Kediri Steamtram Line, now preserved just round the corner of the main Madiun Railway Station. Photo dated 2016. 

All of the sugar mills around Madiun still survive until now, but sadly they do not operate all their field lines anymore. Farmers who live around Madiun these days just could not be bothered to plant canes anymore since they feel that they are being underpaid by the sugar mills. So for them, it is just not worth it planting canes anymore. Instead they plant and grow other fruits and vegetables besides sugar canes, making sugar mills around Madiun receiving less stocks of sugarcanes than what they used to receive back in the 80’s and 90’s. In turn, this makes the operational of narrow gauge field lines less efficient and ineffective to the sugar mills themselves, so they had no choice but to shut down the field lines. 

Other factors besides from the farmers themselves, the city council of Madiun in 2005 had other considerations too. He thought that the operational of narrow gauge field lines was nothing but just a road obstacle and was the main cause of traffic congestions. As an effect, he decided to shut down all the narrow gauge field lines around Madiun. This makes Madiun last saw the operational of narrow gauge field lines in 2005. But thankfully, even though all the field lines have been shut down, the sugar mills still operate their narrow gauge lines inside the siding of the sugar mills and some of the steam locos still survive until the present day. Since there are many sugar mills in Madiun, I will make this page a ‘special edition’ in which I am going to make a whole page just focusing on the sugar mills around the Madiun region.

Rejoagung Sugar Mill
Located on the North region of Madiun, just opposite of what is now the Madiun Bus Station, Rejoagung Sugar Mill still remains quite an attraction.  There are two unique things to see here, which is the semi roundhouse engine shed that leads to a turntable, and also the sugar narrow gauge trains which shunts from the sugar warehouse to the loading site where the bags of sugar are loaded onto trucks. They used to have a 3 ft 6 in railway line here but they never used it again. During the 2012 milling season, diesel locos numbered 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15 were at work, either shunting the empties around the siding or shunting the sugar wagons between the warehouses. Since it is being owned by the same company as Krebet Sugar Mill, which is PT. Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia, all the locos are the same as the ones in Krebet Sugar Mill, which is Schoema. All the steam locos have been scrapped, except for the one preserved for display at the front of sugar mill.

One of the main features of Rejoagung Sugar Mill is of course the semi roundhouse loco shed, as photographed here in 2012.

A quick check in the shed, again, another "Do It Yourself" diesel loco is dumped inside. Photo dated 2016.

Back to the yard, the no's 10 & 12 Schoema's are busy doing the shunting duties in the yard. Photo dated 2012.

In 2014, they decided to repaint all the locos from dark green to orange. When I came back in 2016, maybe it was on a Sunday, hence there were hardly any activities around the mill. The only thing that I saw was the no.14 Schoema working the empties in the yard.

Purwodadi Sugar Mill
Moving onwards to the West section of Madiun. Here you can find two sugar mills, Purwodadi Sugar Mill and Soedhono Sugar Mill. But first, let us stop at Purwodadi Sugar Mill.

In Purwodadi Sugar Mill, they operate a mixture of both steam and diesel locos. The No.3 Keio Yashima diesel loco works as a shunter to push the cane lorries inside the mill where the canes are ready to be crushed and rinsed out for its juice. The No.2 Schoema diesel works as shunter to shunt the empties from the inside siding of the mill towards the truck siding of the mill just outside the main sugar mill itself and across the Madiun – Sragen highway, where a crane lifts the canes from the trucks and puts them into the empties. And the steam locos shunt the fully loaded lorry wagons from the truck siding to the inside siding of the sugar mill, where each locos takes turn to push the cane lorries. At times when there are too many cane lorries to be pushed inside the sugar mill siding and one loco is not strong enough to push the whole train set, a double header locos on the head of the train or two locos each on the head and on the tail of the train is used. When I was there, the steam locos No.5 and No.10 were on duty, whilst No.16 was overhauled. No.15 seemed to be broken, and the other steam locos were scrapped.

The no.2 Schoema diesel shunter brings out a whole lot of empties into the crane yard. Photo dated 2012.

The No.10 0-8-0T O&K steam loco waiting in the crane yard getting ready to haul a whole set of loaded cane lorries into the sugar mill siding. Photo dated 2012.

In 2014, the mill repainted the loco from dark blue to a mixture of mostly dark green with a red stripe and a cartoon drawing of a bee. I personally prefer the dark blue, because the new one looks tacky to me. Anyway, when I visited the mill, I came a bit late, around 9 am. After the loco only did 2 runs, the mill machine broke down. So it was back to the shed for these centenaries then, and no luck for me, despite not just me paying some good money to enter the mill, but I also went through all the troubles sorting out the permits from the PTPN XI Headquarters. This goes to show that when visiting mills in Java, not everything always go according to plan.

Another main highlight of Purwodadi is besides having at least 2 regular real steams (or on some days, if you are lucky enough, you can have 3 regular real steams), is of course being able to photograph the steams whizzing down a photogenic bridge, as shown above, when I repeated my gutted moment of 2014 in 2016. Thankfully my 2016 visit went well.

To complete it all, I also have captured an amateur video documentations of mine, dated 2012 when I went with Australian enthusiasts John Browning and Scott Jesser, and when I repeated my visit on own in 2016.

My first visit in 2012.

My repeated visit in 2016.

Soedhono Sugar Mill
Moving further West now and my next stop is Suedhono Sugar Mill. Suedhono Sugar Mill’s syetem is more or less the same as the Purwodadi Sugar Mill, where they have a separate siding for unloading the canes from the trucks and for loading the canes onto the milling machine. The trucks siding is also across a small village road from Suedhono Sugar Mill itself, where a No. 4 Schoema diesel and a No. 1 O&K diesel locos are taking turns taking out the empties to the trucks siding and the loaded cane wagons into the milling machine. If the mill gets too much cane, the No.3 0-6-0T O&K steam loco is put on duty. But on normal days, you have to charter it beforehand if you want to see it on operation. There were news also is that the No.3 0-6-0T O&K steam loco will be converted into a fireless steam loco to be put on daily operational for 2013 milling season, but as I came back in 2016, such plans never materialized. Note that after my initial visit in 2012, I had no purposes on coming back since Soedhono had converted to 100% full diesel. Besides, whenever I came to Madiun, I was always looking for steam actions. The reason that I came back in 2016 was that I was invited to a free steam charter. Well what can I say?, you can't refuse a free offer.

The location of the mill is made so obvious as they preserved this lovely no.4 0-8-0T Maffei on the turn off. Plus, the mill access road is also located to a nearby small bus station. Photo dated 2016.

A Schoema diesel is seen hard at work here with the canes that are coming from road deliveries. Photo dated 2012.

Time for a free steam charter for me then, as this no.3 O&K 0-6-0T loco was being fired up on my visit with the Farrail Group. One advice, "Don't be fooled with what you see" might be the best words to describe here, as this small beauty could no longer run on its own. It had to be dragged by a Schoema diesel in order to get it here, as it is posed by the unused weighbridge. Photo dated 2016.

Even though I normally make video documentations of steam in action, I decided to skip this one as this one couldn't even move on its own. Hence for me, this makes such occasion a 100% carbon copy replica, or unreal steam if you like.

Rejosari Sugar Mill
To South West of Madiun, and we reach Rejosari Sugar Mill. It was reportedly that they still have three serviceable steam locos, which are the No. 6 “Arjuna” 0-8-0T O&K steam loco, the No. 7 “Merapi” 0-8-0T O&K steam loco and the No. 10 “Salak” 0-8-0T O&K steam loco, but I never got to see them in action during my visits. However on the diesels, there are two active diesel locos, which are the No. 13 “Kawi” O&K diesel and the No. 20 “Agung” Keio Yashima diesel loco. On my visit, it was only the diesels alternately taking turns of working as a shunter, depending on the shift and on the days they are supposed to be on duty. The star of the show is the no. 10 “Salak” 0-8-0T O&K steam loco, as it has a jackshaft gear, which is more like a rack loco, however it doesn't run on a rack rail. However, you have to charter it beforehand if you want to see it in operation.

The star performer, the no.10 "Salak" 0-8-0T O&K built, as you can just about to see the jackshaft gear. It was cold during my visit, as I made my way over there independently.

Onto the diesels now. This no.13 O&K diesel was the one who was doing most of the job during my visit in 2012, as it pushes the canes onto the cane table.

Its identical twin, the no.14, was cold as ice when I repeated my visit in 2014. By this time, the working diesels were repainted to light blue.

These Japanese Keio's normally helped the job of shunting the empty cane wagons as the canes are coming from the trucks, but in 2014, it was also cold as ice. Although I saw it working in 2016, I couldn't be bothered photographing it since I wasn't interested in any diesel actions. Later on in 2016, this diesel was repainted again into orange, as it was sent over to Jatiroto to assist the field workings. Seems it found more of a use in Jatiroto than in its original home.

Not exactly the glimpses of lucks, but it was better than nothing, as this rather charming small no.21 "Slamet" O&K diesel was being utilized in the yard to sort out the empty wagons. If only this one was the one that had gone over to the Eastern Java mills.

Kanigoro Sugar Mill
Off to the South section of the Madiun now, and heading straight on the Madiun – Ponorogo highway. Here, you have two sugar mills, which are Kanigoro and Pagottan Sugar Mills. I'm going to stop at Kanigoro first to see what it has in stock.

In Kanigoro Sugar Mill, they have two steam locos and one diesel loco working as shunters. The working steam locos are the No.6 0-8-0T O&K steam loco and the No.11 0-8-0T O&K steam loco. As for the diesel they only operate the No.D3 Hokuriku 0-4-0DH diesel loco. The amount of steam locos put on duty depends on how much canes the mill receives from the trucks. If the mill receives a high amount of canes, both steam locos are put on duty, along with the D3 Hokuriku diesel loco. But on normal days, they only operate either the No.6 O&K or the No.11 O&K along with the D3 Hokuriku diesel loco. When I was there in 2012, the No.6 O&K steam loco was put on duty along with the D3 Hokuriku diesel loco, whilst the No.11 O&K steam loco was being overhauled. Came back in 2014, nothing much has changed. However, a drastic change happened in 2016, as the mill stopped every milling activities due to a lack of canes being delivered to the mill. End of Kanigoro's days? 

No.6 O&K 0-8-0T steam loco is seen busy with the canes on my visit in 2012. 

The D3 0-4-0 DH Hokuriku is also seen busy assisting the no.3 on the same visit in 2012.

Not much of a change in 2014, as the no.6 O&K 0-8-0T poses on a late morning in the yard.

To see glimpses of the past, I have embeded an amateur video documentation of my own dating from 2014. You can hear the creaking noise so bad, that you just know it's showing signs of Kanigoro's end of days.

Pagottan Sugar Mill
The last stop in Madiun is Pagottan Sugar Mill. Located just behind the Pagottan traditional market, Pagottan Sugar Mill is also another mill that you would not want to miss. They have a huge outside truck siding, where the cane trucks come in and the canes are transferred onto the empties by using a crane. And they have the No. 1 Schoema, the No. 2 O&K and the No. 3 Schoema diesel locos pushing the filled up empties inside the mill. They also converted a no's 6, 7 and 8, all of which are O&K “Luthermoller” steam locos, into fireless locos, which do the job of pushing the canes onto the cane table. Depending on the days, sometimes, you could have only 1 Luthermoller in action. On other days, you could have 2. But if you are lucky enough, and you are coming on a peak season, you might have all 3 Luthermollers in action. 

The no.2 O&K diesel with the no.3 Schoema in the background, both are busy on the road deliveries.

Another star performer, the no.8 0-10-0 (formerly) T, fireless Luthermoller, as it changed tracks after being recharged. Note that on my first visit in 2012, I had absolutely no official permit in hand whatsoever, so I was only allowed in the outside yard. Hence I only got to see 1 Luthermoller in action.

Came back in 2014, and they repainted the loco, this time to a red dark orange-ish colour. Here the no.2 O&K rests with a no.3 Schoema after working the road deliveries in the outside siding.

Things changed for the better as I learned from my previous experience. On my visit in 2014 and 2016, I already sorted out permits from the PTPN XI Headquarters in Surabaya, therefore I was allowed on the inside siding. 2014 saw only 2 Luthermollers in action, the no's 7 and 8. 6 was only used as a pilot. However, things got better in 2016 as I saw all 3 Luthermollers in action. Another visit in 2017? I don't know. It's not on my priority list anymore. Seen on the photo, no.8 O&K fireless converted 0-10-0 took a brief rest before having to work the canes again. Photo dated 2014.

And as always, where there's steam, there's always video that comes with it. Here are two of my amateur shot videos taken in 2014 and 2016.

2014 action, 'only' 2 Luthermollers in action.

2016 action, I hit the jackpot, all 3 Luthermollers were put to use.

Next to Part 6

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