In my eyes at least, Sumberharjo mill was somewhere that promised a great deal but actually never quite delivered.  The mill
itself lies between Tegal and Pekalongan, close to the city of Pemalang.  On both of my visits in 2004 and again in 2006 this
700mm gauge mill had six locomotives in steam and initially a visit to the shed area raised the possibilities of a great day of
action.  In the event many of the locomotives did not seem to venture far from the shed, at least during daylight hours and a
great deal of time seemed to be spent doing very little!  Most of the limited steam working that I saw involved shunting
wagons in the main yard but in 2006 this was only one of three mills where loaded cane trains were brought in from the fields
using steam.  Unfortunately these field movements occurred after sunset and it was difficult to see and impossible to
photograph trains on the move.
The general hustle and bustle
around the shed in the early
morning seemed to be the
precursor for great events which
never actually materialised in
daylight hours.  This August 2006
shot shows (from left to right)
Orenstein & Koppel 0-8-0T No.3
Orenstein & Koppel 0-8-0T No.7
and Du Croo & Brauns 0-8-0T No.9
A similar shed scene taken in 2004
again shows the impressive line-up of
motive power at Sumberharjo.  On
this occasion the locomotives are
(from left to right)
Orenstein & Koppel 0-8-0T No.3
Du Croo & Brauns 0-8-0T No.9
Du Croo & Brauns 0-8-0T No.10
and Du Croo & Brauns 0-8-0T
No.11 which had been paired with
the tender from O & K No.7
Like almost all mills in Java it was necessary to firstly purchase a permit to
enter the mill.  These were easily obtained and once granted it was possible
to wander freely around the engine shed, the mill yard and into the mill
itself to view the machinery used in crushing the cane and extracting the
sugar.  These two shots of Du Croo & Brauns 0-8-0T No.9 (below) and  
Orenstein & Koppel 0-8-0T No.3 (right) were taken in the vicinity of the
engine shed at the start of the day.  No.9 is seen in 2006 with the shot of
No.3 taken two years earlier in 2004
The crews at all the mills I visited in
Java were extremely friendly and
pleased to welcome me onto the
footplate - the crew of No.9 were
no exception and I rode the loco to
the main yard before it stopped and
I was able to capture a nice portrait
of the engine
Orenstein & Koppel 0-8-0T No.7
was built in 1929 and 87 years later
was still to be found working at
Sumberharjo.  My 2006 visit
enjoyed sunshine but somewhat
milky skies making photography
more difficult than in 2004
During my two visits I was fortunate
enough to see seven out of the
twelve locomotives at Sumberharjo.  
Here Du Croo & Brauns 0-8-0T
No.11 stands at the top of the mill
yard during a pause from shunting
Finding any kind of action during
daylight hours at Sumberharjo was
always going to be a challenge but
luckily Du Croo & Brauns 0-8-0T
No.6 was moving temporary
trackwork panels and I was able to
watch it as it ran down the street
of the nearby village
O&K No.3 is seen leaving the mill
area at Sumberharjo taking ash
wagons (and a number of workers)
to the fields.  The ash comes from
the boilers inside the sugar mill
which themselves use bagasse as a
Two of the Orenstein & Koppel
0-8-0T's were operating without
auxiliary tenders and No.4 (built
1910) is seen here as it runs past a
long line of empty loris to the back
of the mill during August 2006.  
Although not actually reported on
in 2010 it is suspected that this
engine managed to become a
working centenarian - quite a
tribute to its builders and the
maintenance it has subsequently
A portrait shot of Du Croo & Brauns
0-8-0T No.6 as it stands at the top
end of the mill yard at Sumberharjo
in August 2004
The fourth of the working Du Croo
& Brauns 0-8-0T No.10 seen at
the rear of  Sumberharjo mill in
August 2006.   The longevity of the
steam locomotive never ceases to
amaze me - each of these Du Croo
and Braun's had been working for
over 80 years each.
A delightful portrait shot of
Orenstein & Koppel No.3 and its
proud crew as they stands at the
head of the mill yard
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