Steamy Java 2012 Blog

Last updated 9 August 2012

Pre-Tour 1
(This Page)

Steamy Java 2012 DVD
(Details Later)

A visit to Cibatu Shed in the 1990s to see what was left there (several derelict CC50 mallets). What will we find in Java in 2012? The 2012 visit is in conjunction with the Farrail Java Tour.

For convenience, this blog will be on several different pages of which this is the first.

Mill Railway Overview (field or yard work, steam, diesel, tractor or no rail)

Pre-Tour (14-16 July)
Heritage Railway Walk – Situbondo – Wringinanom circuit
Do 'Real Steam' daytime field trains still exist in Java (new page)
Exploratory Visit to Krebet Baru field lines near Malang (now added 16 July)

Diesel Tour 17-25 July
First part of tour
Second part of tour

Steam Tour 26 July - 11 August
First part of tour (completed)
Second part of tour (completed)
Third part of tour (started 6 August)

14 July 2012

Heritage Railway Walk – Situbondo – Wringinanom circuit
Following a journey of 30 hours and a midnight arrival, I felt the need for a short walk to acclimatize. Although I headed into town for a bit of shopping, I was distracted by my hunt for the old railway link from Olean sugar mill that shipped bagged sugar out to the national railway at Situbondo. Once at the station, I decided to walk to the flat crossing with the Wringinanom system and then part-way back along the narrow gauge to the mill. If anyone replicates this walk, please take plenty of water!

Leaving the Hotel Rosali, walk towards town and turn right at the first set of traffic lights. The old link line crossed the main road here. The first view is looking back towards the main road and towards Olean Mill. I assume the line was on the right hand side at this point.

Continue along this road (signed as a bypass to Bondowoso) crossing the river with a twin road bridge. There is still no sign of the former rail link but it is apparent on the right hand side shortly after that where it crossed a canal.

The line has curved away from the road and is now heading for the station which can be accessed from a small road on the right after the remains of the railway over canal bridge. The station has great views of the nearby mountains and was isolated from the town which must have been unpopular in the past. The line ran from the port of Panarukan to join the Surabaya – Banyuwangi line east of Jember which was also not very convenient as most people would want to travel along the north coast between Banyuwangi (for Bali) and Surabaya. The last time I saw a service train on this line was 2005 or earlier. In 2008, we visited the station at Bondowoso and established that a trolley was still used to inspect the line onwards towards Prajakan but the line has never re-opened.

There is a single wagon left at the Panarukan end of the platform at Situbondo which has made its last journey.

Of the transfer point between the 700mm Olean system and the 3ft 6in national railways, there is no obvious sign which raises the question of whether the link was 3ft 6in gauge which would not have needed transshipment. If it was, this would also have implications for the historic bagged sugar exports from Wringinanom mill. Did that mill export its sugar over the link between itself and Olean (700mm gauge) or was there a link from Wringinanom to the port station at Panarukan (and if so, what was the gauge?)
From the former Situbondo Station, the walk proper starts with a pleasant stroll along the line towards Panarukan with views of Mt Ringgit (1250m) and rice paddies.

The track is still in place and there is a path along the track or parallel to it the whole way.

At times, the farm yard has taken over the track but the route is never completely obstructed.

After about 2km, you reach a small station or halt which has become a farm house.

Shortly after, the railway crosses the only road on this section of the line and we head on towards the flat crossing with the Wringinanom system.

This was the signal for the flat crossing.

After approximately 3 km from the start, we reach the flat crossing. If, like me, you are here during the sugar season, the chances are that these narrow gauge rails going left to right will be in use between the fields and the sugar mill.

Rob Dickinson has sent me a shot of steam on the flat crossing to add. The link to his webpage on Wringinanom is below.

We turn right here and follow the Wringinanom 700mm tracks back to the mill. If you are lucky, there may be 2 diesels parked up at the road crossing ahead waiting for instructions to go to the fields to collect loaded trains.

The Wringinanom system was once famous for a magnificent bridge over the River Sampean here but this was washed away between 2005 and 2008 and in 2008, we saw trains operating on the isolated system on the other side before loading the cane into road trucks for transfer to the mill. The new bridge links up the system again but is less impressive.

Rob Dickinson has sent me a shot of steam crossing the bridge to add. The link to his webpage on Wringinanom is below.

Many thanks to Rob Dickinson for the two historic photos. To see more of what it used to be like, Rob's Wringinanom web page is here.

The crossing for the main Surabaya – Banyuwangi road comes next. If you have already a ball of sweat, you can catch a minibus back to the hotel here.

However, a walk along the Wringinanom mainline back to the mill is pleasant and gives the chance of seeing more railway heritage. The line to the north joins and although the points were set for the way we have come from the south, the north line looks used.
Shortly afterwards, temporary track goes into a field that has already been cleared of cane. The temporary junction has been removed.

Ahead, we see permanent points into a field which is being cut with wagons being loaded to be taken to the mill later today.

Wringinanom Mill is now beginning to get closer.

We pass another junction, this one the link to the Olean system and them bear around to head towards the back of the mill. There is a road out on the left by a small shop but it’s probably more interesting to continue to the back of the mill via the weighbridge.

And then we are at the back of the mill with large loco No. 5 dwarfing tiny No. 1. There is no security around today to stop me but entering further into the mill yard requires permission. Outside the mill yard is a triangle which is probably used to make up double lengths of loaded wagons in the mill sidings. (If so, the first train goes straight into the mill sidings and the loco comes off of the front. The second train goes the other route round the triangle and reverses the load into the mill siding so a double length train is ready for the mill and the loco is not trapped in the middle.) This area has various bits of scrap around including loco and tender parts.

Here is my own (low res) shot of what it was like in steam days. The disk signal (linked to the catch points at the crossing) is still there but no longer used. The trees have gone for firewood.

By now, like me, you will probably be hot and sticky so head for the main road and catch a minibus back to the hotel. If you decide to walk along the main road, it’s about 2 km back to the Hotel Rosali.

Back at the hotel after 2.5 hours out in the heat (10:30 – 1:00), the beers in the restaurant fridge look tempting.

And on the table, even more so with Ayam saos Inggris (chicken in Worcester sauce) and kentang goreng (chips). Cheers!

If anyone does this walk, please let me know. You can contact me at