Tasik Madu is a 750mm gauge mill located to the east of Solo.  Like other mills the genuine steam operation is limited to
moving loaded cane wagons from the road delivery yard to the main mill yard.  However since the two yards are about 400
metres apart and the journey involves the trains coming right through the village there is an opportunity to photograph some
real 'street running'.   In addition to the 'real steam' there is also a somewhat bizarre 'theme park' with a swimming pool,
various caged animals and birds with live music at the weekends.  Through all of this tourist mayhem slowly weave some of
the mill's steam and diesel locomotives hauling passenger trains at slow speed.  For reasons almost too obvious to mention
no shots of this particular operation will be found on this page!

My main motivation for visiting Tasik Madu was to see the Orenstein & Koppel 0-10-0 No.VI. This locomotive, built in 1929,
uses the Luttermoller system of articulation to allow it to negotiate tight curves.  Whilst normally referred to as an 0-10-0 in
fact the leading and end driving wheels are not connected to the centre drivers by means of coupling rods but instead a
geared system is used to transmit the power.  There are several other Luttermollers at work in Java but none of the others
have the same outline as No.VI.  It truly is a magnificent beast and made the long journey entirely worthwhile.  In 2004 it was
only possible to spend an afternoon at Tasik Madu and it was clearly a mill that would benefit from a full day or more on the
lineside to get all the shots in the best light.  Not surprisingly it was one of the two mills which I most wanted to visit when I
returned to Java in 2006 - the other being Olean.
Java Index
Tegal Region
Madiun Region
Kediri Region
Eastern mills
China - Land Of Dragons
Home Page
Cuba - Steam In Paradise
Adventures In Foreign Lands - Personal trip reports - 1999 - 2008
Zimbabwe - Garratt Heaven
Germany - Narrow Gauge
Poland - Coal and Capitalism
The locomotive which I always think
of as 'The Beast Of Tasik Madu'.  A
portrait shot of Orenstein & Koppel  
0-10-0 No.VI as it stands at the end
of the headshunt ready to propel its
loaded cane wagons back into the
mill yard after the short journey
from the road delivery yard.
Railway photography just doesn't
get any better than this! I spent a
lazy afternoon sitting in the local
police office drinking hot sweet tea -
a ritual interrupted only by the need
to pop outside and photograph  
'The Beast' as it made its way down
through the village.  There really is
something special about 'street
running' which makes for incredibly
evocative pictures
                         (August 2004)
Time for another cup of tea and
then back out into the street in
time to watch Orenstein & Koppel  
0-8-0T No.V bringing another long
train of loaded wagons through the
village. The usual method of hand
sanding is in use as the two straw
hatted gentlemen on the front
buffer beam seek to prevent the
engine slipping to a standstill.
A portrait view of No.V as it stands
on the headshunt having propelled
the cane wagons back into the
main yard.
By 2006, just to confuse simple
minded souls like myself, there were
two locomotives with a large 5 on
the smokebox door!  Just to make
matters even more difficult both
were Orenstein & Koppel 0-8-0T's.  
No.5 of 1923 shunts in the main mill
yard at Tasik Madu
Having brought a long train of
loaded wagons from the road
delivery yard, the original No.5
stands on the headshunt prior to
propelling the wagons into the mill
yard.  The sanding equipment can
clearly be seen sitting on the front
bufferbeam smoking a cigarette.  
Another Orenstein& Koppel 0-8-0T
No.III stands in the mill yard at
Tasik Madu.  During my two visits in
2004 and 2006 this was the only
mill that used Roman numerals on
their locomotives although by 2006,
as mentioned above, No.V was
confusingly carrying a No.5 on its
smokebox door
Orenstein & Koppel No.XIV receives
attention in the mill yard at Tasik
The 'Beast' brings another train
from the road delivery yard along
the street heading for the village
and the mill beyond.  Although
moving at relatively slow speed the
train was impossible to chase on
foot so I took to waving down
passing motorcyclists and getting
them to overtake the train .........
........ thus allowing me to get a second
shot of the same train just before it
reached the mill.  This was a
somewhat hairy activity at times as
my hijacked driver did all he could to
weave past other vehicles and through
narrow gaps in order to deliver me to
the requisite photo spot.
A lull in activity at lunchtime was a perfect opportunity to observe
local life.  My unannounced visit to the local primary school (once
a teacher always a teacher) resulted in near chaos as classes were
abandoned to view the visitor before eventually order was restored
(left and below).  Nasi goreng and a chat with the locals in the
lineside warung made up for a missed breakfast (bottom left)
before watching the boys practising marching ahead of the  
forthcoming Independence Day celebrations on August 17
It was always touch and go as to
whether or not traffic on the road
would interfere with photographic
proceedings.  Sometimes it was
possible to persuade vehicles to wait
while I took the shot but on this
occasion it was simply luck as No.V
heads along the road towards the mill
Orenstein & Koppel 0-6-0T No.I
(built 1921) stands outside the shed
at Tasik Madu in August 2006.  The
locomotive was in immaculate
condition with brass lamps and other
adornments as it had been withdrawn
from normal mill yard duty and
prepared for tourist operations.
Bales of bagasse are loaded onto the
auxiliary tender of No.III as it stands
in the mill yard.  Bagasse is the waste
product from the production of sugar
and therefore provides the mill with a
free source of energy.  However it has
to be burned in quantity to produce
sufficient heat and hence the need
for the auxiliary tenders which are
attached to most tank engines.
Orenstein & Koppel 0-10-0 No.VI
running tender first through the village
on its way back to the road delivery
Ninety three years old and still going
strong ..... Orenstein & Koppel No.III
(built 1913) pauses between shunts in
the mill yard
Orenstein & Koppel 0-8-0T No.5B
waits to shunt wagons back towards
the mill
No.V has come to a halt just short of
the mill with a nasty bout of slipping
and so the sanding apparatus has been
brought into use to try to get the train
back onto the move.  It seems that
Health and Safety inspectors may not
be quite so much in evidence in Java as
they are in some other parts of the
A conveniently parked cane lorry in
the village street provided me with
an excellent platform from which to
photograph 'The Beast' as it made
yet another journey from the delivery
yard to the mill.  Shortly after this a
broken rail brought an end to street
running and signalled the end of my
second visit to Tasik Madu
The 2006 season seemed to be a bumper year in terms of cane production with lorries unloading in the road delivery yard and
also spending hours in long queues waiting to offload directly into the mill.  Since then reports have been of much smaller
harvests and of course the growth of the 'theme park' which was not in existence when I was there.  'The Beast' was out of
action for some time and street running has been much reduced.  However it is still a mill that steam enthusiasts should
endeavour to visit if spending any time on the island of Java.