|Having seen the sunrise it was my intention to travel to Kediri and to visit Merican mill. This involved catching the local bus
to Probolingo and then taking a bus from there to Kediri. However my travel plans looked in serious jeopardy as the local
bus down the mountain crawled along making frequent stops to wait for passengers who might or might not turn up!! With
time running out to make my connection, desperate measures were called for and a small bribe changed hands. The effect
was electrifying with the previously moribund minibus now taking on all comers, pausing only to eject passengers whilst
leaving others behind to await the next bus. Probolingo was reached with a full ten minutes to spare and a 12,000Rp bus ride
took me from Probolingo to Kediri where I arrived shortly after 3.00pm. With time running out I took a Nganjuk bound bus
from the terminal which dropped me off close to the gate to Merican mill.
I was able to buy a permit from the security guards at the gate - presumably because the office staff had gone home - this
cost 85,000Rp - the most expensive to date. The daylight had almost gone by the time I found the locomotives and there
was absolutely no movement, the cane yard being completely full of wagons. I therefore waited for night to fall and then
returned to the locomotives which turned on a wonderful display of 'fireworks' as partly burned pieces of bagasse were
ejected from the chimney as a cloud of sparks. After taking a number of time exposures I returned to Kediri and caught a
Blitar bound bus to the centre of town alighting near the mosque at the far end of the large river bridge. From here I walked
to the Hotel Penataran where I obtained an excellent room for 100,000Rp.
Tuesday 24th August
I retraced my steps from the hotel back to the bus terminal and caught the bus to Mojokerto. Once in Mojokerto I took the
'A' line minibus to Hotel Surya Mojopahit (88,000Rp) where I made enquiries as to the best way to reach Gempolkerep mill.
After some debate the staff decided two ways were possible. Either take a becak (at 7000Rh) to Terminal Lespadangan and
then a minibus from there to Gempolkerep or return to the terminal and catch an 'F' line minibus to Terminal Lespadangan.
This was really a 'no brainer' and so I was pedalled through the streets, over a large river bridge and into the minibus
terminal. A ten minute bus ride delivered me to the gates of the mill where I went through the now familiar routine of
signing the visitors book and then being taken to the offices to obtain the necessary permit. Gempolkerup provided me with
the most expensive permit of the trip - $10 which equated to 86,500Rp but also some of the nicest photographs. The
locomotive crews were very obliging and were happy to move locomotives to create good photographic opportunities. The
operation was also very interesting. The engines are connected to the loaded wagons using a steel hawser about 20 feet
long. The locomotive hauls the wagons but on approaching the mill takes a parallel road to the wagons - involving some nifty
point switching - so that the newly arrived wagons can be attached to the end of the previous train. Three locomotives were
in use - two in the main yard and one shunting empty wagons into the road delivery yard.
Livery is yellow although on the larger locomotives the boiler was a rusty metal colour and largely devoid of paint.
Engines in use were -
No. 4 0-10-0 Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1928)
No.11 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1914)
No.18 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1920)
and No.12 0-10-0 Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1923) - on boiler washout in the morning
Wednesday 25th August
And so all things must pass ......... took the bus from the terminal in Mojokerto to Bungurasih bus terminal in Surubaya and
from there a 35,000Rp taxi ride to the airport. An internal flight back to Jakarta cost 340,000Rh and once in Jakarta it was
time to check in for the flight back to London. Pity Gulf Air couldn't even manage to get the in-flight entertainment system
to work on the nine and a half hour flight backfrom Abu Dhabi to Heathrow .......... but then what was I expecting ..............???
Undertaking a solo trip to Java was undoubtedy worth doing. The people are wonderfully friendly and keen to assist
whenever possible. Although English isn't widely spoken, enough people have a few words of English that they are able to use
to help out and taking the time to learn a little Indonesian is also greatly appreciated by one's hosts - for after all that is what
they are - as a traveller one is a guest in the country and should take the time and have the manners to appreciate the local
culture, traditions and hospitality that is offered. Travelling by public bus was a great way to experience local life and meet
the people of the island although it is certainly time consuming and a little tough on the posterior. Accommodation was
cheap (more expensive hotels are certainly available if required) and fairly basic but in every room that I stayed in, the basic
facilities worked and the beds were comfortable. The food is mainly Indonesian or Chinese with an accent on seafood.
Restaurants are reasonably priced and eating at the roadside stalls and in the bus terminals can be very cheap indeed. The
scenery is breathtaking - particularly in the east of the island - and the weather during my trip was very pleasant with
temperatures around 30 degrees and mainly sunny.
Access to the mills themselves is straightforward. Report to the main gate and sign the visitors book. The security guards
will take you to the administrative offices where a permit to visit both the yards and the mill itself is issued for a fee ranging
from the equivalent of $5 - $10. Usually the visitor is free to go wherever he/she wants but care is needed as the mills are
potentially hazardous - but then we are all grown ups and can appreciate the risks without a mandatory Health and Safety
briefing can't we??
There is perhaps no longer enough steam remaining in Java to fully satify the hardened 'steam nut' but if one is prepared to
enjoy all the other aspects of a visit to this wonderful island then a great time is possible.
Finally I must thank Florian Menius for his help and advice and above all I must thank Rob Dickinson for all his help, advice,
guidance and encouragement - without which I am sure I would never have felt able to successfully "bash Java by bus"
|Class E10 0-10-0T No.1060 on the charter train runs
through Jambu station and towards rack section.
|Class B25 0-4-2T No.2503 crossing a small river
bridge prior to ascending the rack to Bedono
|Schwartzkopff 0-10-0T 'Tujubelas' on charter train at Cepu. 'Tujubelas' means '17' and together with the other
Schwartzkopf 0-10-0T'Augustus' - meaning August - spells out the date of Indonesia's independence day.
|Top left - Looking down into
the vent of Mount Bromo.
Two tourists were killed when
Bromo erupted violently in
Above - The sun rises just
above the horizon at 5.30am
as seen from the top of Mount
Lower left - Surely one of the
most spectacular sights in Java.
The early morning light falls
onto the smoking crater of Mt
Bromo in the left hand
foreground and onto the sides
of Mt.Batok. Meanwhile in the
background a vast cloud of ash
and smoke erupts from Mr
Semeru - this happens at
roughly 45 minute intervals.
Mt Semeru is the second most
active volcano on the island.
|Unable to take part in Rob Dickinson's annual car-based trip to Java in 2004 due to the dates not co-inciding with my school
holidays and being generally unwilling to take part in group trips anyway, I was persuaded by Rob that it would be possible to
tour Java and visit the main steam worked mills using public transport - meaning in the main travelling by public bus. Armed
with a Berlitz phrase book, a Nelles map of Java and copious notes generously provided by Rob and Florian Menius, I therefore
set out to 'bash Java by bus'.
Wednesday 4th August - Friday 6th August
I booked my flights from London to Jakarta with Gulf Air. This involved a two-legged journey, initially from Heathrow to Abu
Dhabi and then from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta. However on Wednesday 5 August the first leg of the flight was initially delayed
some two hours as a result of bad weather on the previous day. Having boarded the plane we were then informed that it was
suffering a mechanical problem to do with the air conditioning and cabin pressure system and that we would be further
delayed. We were then off-loaded and returned to the departure lounge. After nearly five hours without proper information
and no consultation passengers to Jakarta were given boarding cards for a totally different flight!! This took us to Muscat
where we then put into the Holiday Inn for 14 hours. Then we were flown from Muscat to Abu Dhabi where we caught a
flight to Jakarta (which passed almost directly over Muscat) and arrived exactly 24 hours late. Appalling service, total absence
of information, indifferent ground staff and no hint of an apology. The moral - fly to Jakarta using KLM, Emirates or
Singapore Airways. Avoid Gulf Air at all costs (in the event of receiving a proper apology and decent compensation I will
amend the above advice!!!) if you want to be sure of a decent journey to the Far East!!
On arrival in Jakarta I took the airport bus (10,000Rp = £0.75 or $1.10) to Gambir station and caught a train to Cirebon on
Java's north coast. This was a three hour journey and an 'Eksecutiv' ticket cost 50,000Rp. I took a 'becak' (bicycle taxi) from
the railway station to the Hotel Pinus in Cirebon (180,000Rp) where I finally met up with the Enthusiast Holiday group being
led by Rob Dickinson.
Saturday 7th August
Travelled with Rob Dickinson to Tersana Baru mill which is to the east of Cirebon. A total of seven locomotives were in
No. 1 0-8-0T Du Croo and Brauns (Built 1926)*
No. 2 0-8-0T Du Croo and Brauns (Built 1928)*
. No. 3 0-8-0T Jung (Built 1925)*
No. 6 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1929)*
No.11 0-8-0T Du Croo and Brauns (Built 1929)*
No.18 0-8-0T Jung (Built 1923)*
and No.20 0-8-0T Maffei (Built 1911)*
The locomotives were all engaged in bringing cane trains from the road transfer yard into the mill which was done by means
of pushing the loaded wagons from the rear. Locomotive livery is orange.
* A full list of locomotives currently and formerly located at all of Java's sugar mills can be found on Rob's site
Sunday 8th August
To avoid conflicting with the Enthusiast Holiday group, I caught a bus from Cirebon to Tegal - a journey of about two hours
and costing 5000Rp. I booked into the Hotel Gren (AC-room for 120,000Rp) which is a short bus ride from the main bus
terminal and just to the west of the town centre. Most large towns have a long distance bus terminal which is usually located
on the outskirts and from which it is necessary to catch either a small minibus or take a becak into the centre of the town. In
some cases it is easier to locate a hotel close to the bus terminal to avoid having to adopt either option. Once booked into
the hotel I caught another bus towards Semarang and alighted shortly after Comal from where I caught a minibus to Sragi
mill. This mill has recently lost its field working and once again locomotives were confined to pushing trains of loaded cane
wagons into the mill. Five locomotives were in use, all sporting a light green livery. These were -
No. 1 0-4-2T Krauss (Built 1899)
No. 7 0-10-0T BMAG (Built 1928)
No.10 0-4-0T Henschel (Built 1925)
No.12 0-8-0T Hartmann (Built 1912)
No.16 0-8-0T Hartmann (Built 1912)
From Sragi I retraced my steps back to Tegal and Hotel Gren.
Monday 9th August
Jatibarang and Pangka mills are both in close proximity to Tegal and can be visited in a full day. I therefore caught a minibus
from the centre of Tegal to Slawi and then another bus to Jatibarang. Here it was necessary to report to the gate security.
After signing in, I was taken to the main offices where a permit to visit the mill was issued costing about 50,000Rp. This is
normal practice at most mills and presented no difficulties despite my non-existent Indonesian and the limited English spoken
by mill staff (with some notable exceptions) At some mills the road delivery yard is outside of the mill perimeter and
therefore no payment is necessary. Locomotive sheds are however always inside the mill and require a permit before
entering. At Jatibarang locomotives haul the cane trains from the road delivery yard into the mill and this provides for some
good action shots as they cross the road and run in towards the off-loading point.
Locomotives are in a light green livery and on 9 August locomotives in use were -
No. 5 0-8-0T Jung (Built 1916)
No.10 0-8-0T Jung (Built 1911)
No.12 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1931)
Also apparantly in working order were -
No.1 0-6-0T Couillet (Built 1910)
and No.2 0-6-0T Couillet (Built 1910)
Shortly after 11.00am I left Jatibarang and returned to Slawi from where I took a horse drawn taxi to Pangka mill which is to
the east of Slawi. Again it was necessary to pay to enter the mill. The working locomotives were all to be found outside of
the main shed where they remained until 2.00pm when they moved off with the new shift to carry out their various duties.
This included hauling loaded cane wagons from the road delivery yard into the mill. Locomotives carry an attractive brown
livery and on 9 August the working locomotives were -
No. 1 0-6-2T Jung (Built 1915)
No. 2 0-6-2T Jung (Built 1915)
No. 3 0-6-2T Jung (Built 1920)
No. 9 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1914)
No.10 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1933)
A very pleasant afternoon was brought to a sudden and dramatic end when I managed to slip whilst walking on one of the
earth banks which separate the paddy fields. My right leg disappeared up to the knee in thick brown mud and my attempts to
extricate myself led to my left leg performing a similar manoeuvre. Whilst this provided unexpected and much appreciated
entertainment to the watching locals it resulted in a prolonged clean up operation in a local house and the missing of the
master shot for which I had been so patiently waiting!! Eventually I was sufficiently clean to return to Tegal via Slawi and
spend a second night at Hotel Gren.
Tuesday 10th August
Took a Semarang bound bus along the coast road at far as Pemalang. From the terminal it was possible to get a small bus
towards Moga before changing to a minibus for the final section to Sumberharjo mill. Most of the activity takes place within
the mill confines and a permit is almost certainly necessary if you wish to take shots of the locomotives. On arrival at about
8.30am all locomotives were still on shed. There seemed to be little haste and it was well after 9.00am before the first
locomotive moved off shed. Further departures were halted when No.6 derailed its tender whilst attempting to leave the
shed. Most of the work for locomotives at Sumberharjo involves moving cane trains within the mill confines although No.3
took an ash train out into the fields at about 11.00am and No.6 eventually took a long train of empty wagons out to the fields,
running tender first. Within the mill yard locomotives operated by hauling trains boiler first. All locomotives carry a medium
green livery. Locomotives in use on 10 August were -
No. 3 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1912)
No. 6 0-8-0T Du Croo and Brauns (Built 1923)
No. 7 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1929)
No. 9 0-8-0T Du Croo and Brauns (Built 1925)
No.10 0-8-0T Du Croo and Brauns (Built 1924)
and No.11 0-8-0T Du Croo and Brauns (Built 1924)
Left Sumberharjo at about 11.00am and caught a minibus directly back to Pemalang. This stopped at the far end of a vehicle
free dual carriageway road which led to the bus terminal. A short becak ride took me to the terminal and from there I caught
a Semarang bound bus. At Semarang terminal I was able to take a small bus to Bandungan where I met up with Rob
Dickinson's group at the Hotel Kencana (119,000Rp per night - no AC due to the lower temperatures of higher altitude)
Wednesday 11th August
Private charters on the Ambarawa Rack Railway with Rob Dickinson and Enthusiast Holidays. There is no public service on
the railway which operates out of the Ambarawa Railway Museum. The museum itself was initially created to preserve a
number of 3'6" gauge locomotives which were coming to the end of their working lives on the state railway system. These
are exhibited in park-like surrounding next to the station and a total of 25 locomotives can be seen in various states of
cosmetic restoration. Three other locomotives are in working order and operate on both the adhesion and rack sections of
the railway which is approximately 8.5 km long and climbs about 240 metres from Ambawara to the summit at Bedono. The
morning session used E10 0-10-0T No.E1060 which was originally used on a rack railway from Padang to Sawahlunto in
Sumatra but which at the moment cannot ascend the rack section at Ambarawa. For this reason the morning train only ran
as far as Jambu. The afternoon charter used B25 0-4-2T No.B2503 which is one of five locomotives supplied to the railway
and built in 1902. This is equipped to climb the rack and the afternoon train ascended to Bedono with two coaches, one of
which was loaded to the roof with local school children being given a rare treat by the visiting enthusiasts! A nice touch by
Rob and one which was very much appreciated by the local population!
|Thursday 12th August
No-one should seriously consider going to Java simply to enjoy the steam action, as the island has so much more to offer the
visitor. One such attraction are the five temples at Gedong Songo. Acting on advice that the best time to see them was at
sunrise I caught a minibus from Bandungan to the road which leads up to the temples - a journey of some 5 or 6 kilometres.
The bus driver was somewhat concerned for me since he indicated that the motorbike taxis which climb 3.5km up the hill to
the temples didn't start running until 8.00am!! Fortunately I found a young lad at work in one of the nearby shops and
persuaded him that he would love to take me up the hill and to my delight he readily agreed. At 5.45am there was no-one to
collecct my entrance fee and the whole complex was deserted. I climbed to the highest of the five temples to admire the
view and to capture the beauty of the location. The smell of sulphur hung in the air as steam and hot water gushed from
fissures in the side of Mount Ungaran which looms over the whole scene. A couple of hours at Gedong Songo was sufficient
to enjoy all five temples and I caught a motorcycle taxi (10,000Rp) back to the main road and returned to Bandungan before
catching a second bus to Ungaran and then a third bus to Solo
|Stayed at the Hotel Tistomadi Permai in Solo (77,000Rp AC-room) which is immediately south of the main bus terminal.
Took a Tawangmanggu bus eastwards from the city and found my way to Tasik Madu mill. In addition to the two
locomotives shunting the main mill yard, the two larger locomotives each brought three cane trains into the mill from the
road delivery yard. This is a distance of some 400 - 500 yards and involves a section of street running which provides good
photographic potential in the afternoon light, although the main section alongside the sports field would certainly be best
photographed in the early morning. The 'star' of the show is undoubtedly the 0renstein and Koppel 0-10-0 No.VI - a large
Luttermoller engine which in visual terms is totally different to other locomotives on the island, having a purpose built tender
and a distinctive outline. All locomotives have a light green livery.
Locomotives seen were -
No.III 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1913)
No.V 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1921)
No.VI 0-10-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1928)
and No.5B 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1923)
Around 4.30pm the light was beginning to fade and so I retraced my steps back to Solo. For cuture vultures, a becak ride to
the Hotel Kusuma Sahid Raya provides an opportunity to listen to a gamelan orchestra which performs free of charge in the
hotel lobby each lunchtime and evening. This provided me with a second taste of Javanese culture for the day although I did
decline a third oppportunity which presented itself to me outside of my hotel on my return! This was certainly not free of
Friday 13th August
Caught a Madiun bound bus from Solo until just beyond Ngawi where I visited Purwodadi mill. This is right next to the road
and easy to locate. Entry cost the usual 50,000Rp although it is not really necessary to enter the mill unless you want to see
the stationary steam engines inside the mill. This is an unusual working with best potential in the mornings. The line from the
road delivery yard into the mill crosses the main Ngawi to Madiun road and then runs over a girder bridge. Locomotives haul
the cane cars, running tender first and stop on the bridge. A second loco then attaches itself to the other end of the train and
pushes the loaded wagons into the mill while the released locomotive returns to the delivery yard to bring in the next train.
The action around 9.30am was certainly non-stop with four engines in use. Often two light engines would follow each other
back to the road delivery yard offering good photo opportunities.
The locomotives have a light blue livery and those in use on the day were -
No.10 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1910)
No.11 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1912)
No.15 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1920)
and No.16 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1910)
Left Purwodadi at around 11.30 when the light became too high and too harsh and headed for Madiun. Caught a minibus
from the terminal towards the centre of town and stayed at the Hotel Pondok Indah (80,000 Rp for AC-room)
Saturday 14th August
Returned to the main bus terminal and took a bus towards Pogodowo which dropped me off at the gate to Pagottan mill.
Once again it was really necessary to pay the mill entry fee although shots are possible from the road crossing between the
mill and the road delivery yard. Locomotives are used to push the cane wagons into the mill and so therefore most
photographs are likely to be of light engine movements. The locomotive livery is orange with a blue stripe and the two
engines in use were -
No.1 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1909)
and No.6 0-10-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1923)
From Pagottan I retraced my steps back towards Madiun, taking a diversion to Kanigoro mill. This proved somewhat
disappointing as only one engine was in steam and that had only recently been lit up and was unlikely to work before 2.30 -
3.00pm time. Kanigoro engines are in a medium blue livery and the locomotive in steam was No.6 - an Orenstein and Koppel
0-8-0T built in 1921.
On my return to Madiun I caught the bus northwards to Ngawi and then changed to a Cepu bound bus (total journey about
65km). Stayed at the Hotel Cepu Indah 1 (138,000Rp). Joined up once again with Rob Dickinson's party and spent an
enjoyable evening as paying guests at the Cepu Heritage Club at the village hall in Ledok where some of the party enjoyed the
buffet, traditional singing, puppet theatre and gamelan playing laid on by our hosts.
Sunday 15th August
A full day on the Cepu Forestry Railway. Although this is now only a small part of a once extensive system it provides a
contrast to the sugar mill operations elsewhere on the island. The railway served a large teak forest and is built to 3'6"
gauge. It is now only used for tourist trains (for which coaches are utilised) and occasional logging train charters
such as that organised by Rob Dickinson. The line has three Schwartzkopff 0-10-0T locomotives and a much smaller Du Croo
and Brauns 0-6-0T available for use. On this occasion we used one of the Schwartzkopff locomotives. The photographs
below show the train in the log yard and again crossing one of the bridges at the top end of the line. For a wider
photographic coverage see Rob Dickinson's page on the Cepu Forestry Railway
|Monday 16th August and Tuesday 17th August
The previous few days had left me with a number of painful blisters and so it was a relief to be able to spend a day largely
travelling by bus. From Cepu it was a three hour (12,000Rp) ride to Surabaya - the first part in a cramped minibus but the
majority in a standard size 'Ekonomie' bus. The bus arrived at a terminal to the west of the city and it was necessary to take
a taxi right across the city to the main Bunguraseh terminal on the south side of the city. From here I took a Banyuwangi
bound bus as far as the seaside village of Pasirputih. This was a four hour journey on a limited stop, air-conditioned bus with
a 75,000Rp price tag to match!! Booked into the Hotel Sido Muncul, where for 150,000Rp it was possible to get an AC-room
with a balcony leading directly onto the beach. The setting was wonderful and I didn't need much of an excuse to take a day
off and spend Tuesday variously lazing on the beach or taking a trip out on one of the outrigger sailing boats. However the
sea water was extremely effective in healing the blisters and getting me fit again for Olean.
Wednesday 18th August and Thursday 19th August
Left Pasirputih and relocated to the Hotel Ramayana (close to the bus terminal - 100,000Rp for an AC room) in Situbondo
and from there took a becak to Olean. There are occasional minibuses but these are few and far between. A becak costs
about 10,000Rp and takes roughly 20 minutes. Olean mill is one of only two mills which use steam locomotives to bring
loaded cane trains from the fields to the mill and on both days all four available engines were in service. There are two lines -
one to Duwet and Gelung and the other to Semering - but exact destinations are determined by where cane is being cut.
Locomotives usually work empty wagons out to the fields at about 7.00am and then return light to the mill. Between
11.30am and noon they leave the mill again and go to collect the now-loaded wagons. Crews are happy to provide a
footplate ride in return for a few packets of cigarettes and with the low speeds achieved on the return journey with the
loaded wagons it is possible to jump off the loco, run ahead, take the photograph and jump back on the engine.
This is what I did on both days, travelling on the Semering line to a point just beyond the village of Tribungan. Wagons are
brought to the main line from the fields along temporary tracks, hauled by oxen. The RSPCA appears not to have yet
opened a local branch!! The return locomotive hauled working provided some interesting shots of the loaded train running
alongside the road through the village and then in the 'lane' shortly after the line crosses the Olean to Tribungan road. A
final set of shots were also possible across the paddy fields beyond the village of Karang Malang. On Wednesday there was
also a train which returned from Gelung and two from Duwet - on Thursday there was one working from Semering and two
from Duwet. However, given the unpredictable nature of working railways it was perhaps not a total surprise that visitors
on Friday found there were no trains working at all.
Locomotives are in a light green livery and on all three days (see below) the following were in use -
No.1 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1912)
No.4 'Semuru' 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1912)
No.5 'Bromo' 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1920)
and No.7 'Hiyang' 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1910)
Friday 20th August
Caught a Banyuwangi bound bus to Asembagus mill, which is about 30km east of Sitobondo. This is the other mill which still
uses steam locomotives on field work. The fee to enter the mill was the equivalent of US$7 (66,500Rp) making it the most
expensive mill to visit so far on the trip. Only one locomotive (O & K No.10) was in steam and this did not depart from the
mill until 2.45pm. As with Olean the crew were happy to accept me as a passenger and the trip out to the filelds was
uneventful. However disaster struck as the train attempted to set off back to the mill. A rail under the engine came loose
and turned on its side, causing both engine and tender to be derailed. One of the crew set out on foot to return to the mill
to summon assistance and with the time fast approaching 4.15 it was clear that I was going to see no further action and also
that I was stranded some 6 - 7km from the mill!! Fortunately I came across a group of workers in one of the fields and for a
packet of cigarettes was able to obtain a motorcycle ride back to the mill.
Locomotives at Asembagus are painted in an orange livery. Available for use are -
No.10 0-8-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1920)
and No.11 0-6-0T Orenstein and Koppel (Built 1920)
Saturday 21st August
Another day spent at Olean mill. On this occasion two locomotives went to Duwet and two went out on the Semering line.
Of the latter two engines, one collected a load between Karang Malang and Tribungan whilst the other continued beyong
Tribungan. The unexpected once again took a hand with the train halted in Tribungan for over an hour to allow a marching
competition to take place!! A total of 71 groups of school children marched from Olean to Tribungan, crossing the line in the
middle of the village. In order to avoid covering the marchers in dust the train waited for all 71 groups to cross the line
before proceeding back to Olean!! The joys of real steam!! The bonus however was a much later train which was gloriously
lit by the late afternoon sun. Every cloud has a silver lining .................
Sunday 22nd August
No trip to Java would be complete without a visit to Mt Bromo, one of the most scenic spots on the island. This involved a
two hour bus journey from Sitobondo to Probolingo (12,000Rp) and then another two hour minibus ride (7500Rp) from
Probolingo up to the village of Cemoro Lawang which is on the edge of a huge crater which houses the still active Mount
Bromo and Mount Batok which is considered to be extinct. Stayed at the Hotel Bromo Permai (138,000Rp - no AC
necessary at this altitude) which was almost deserted. Indeed tourists seemed to be at something of a premium and my
arrival was greeted with considerable enthusiasm. The village is above the cloud level and affords wonderful views of the
volcanoes and surrounding mountains. From the hotel it was possible to either take a jeep or horse to the foot of Mount
Bromo but I opted to walk the two miles or so across the crater floor. A flight of 250 steps leads up to the lip of the crater
and from there it is possible to look down into the constantly steaming vent of the volcano - a truely awe-inspiring site.
Monday 23rd August
Seeing the sun rise from Mount Penanjakan is considered to be more or less obligatory for anyone visiting Mt Bromo.
To reach the viewpoint it is necessary to engage the services of a jeep and driver (cost c.100 - 150,000Rp) and get out of bed
at about 3.30am!! This is when you discover that the night time temperatures are distinctly chilly. The drive up to the
viewpoint takes about 45 minutes and crosses the so-called Sea Of Sand before ascending up a narrow road to the top of Mt
Penanjakan. However the sight of the sun rising into the sky, above the still cloud-filled valleys is undoubtedly worth all the
effort and expense. Add to this the sight of Mt Bromo, Mt Batok and the erupting Mt Semeru in the early morning light and
you have one of the greatest possible travel experiences.
|BASHING JAVA BY BUS
5 - 25th AUGUST 2004