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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
See also John Raby's blogs at www.rabylee.uk/linesidingindex.html


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday 31 July Semboro and Olean

Yesterday, we were supposed to make a major visit to Semoboro Mill but the requisite permission had not come through. After a delay of over a month it arrived midway through the day of the intended visit. Such were the attractions there that a change of plans occurred and it was decided to make a 3-hour dash there today for a brief visit before retracing the journey backto Olean Mill.
Semboro has two delightful 700mm gauge fireless steam locomotives that are charged up with steam from the mill's boilers.

On arrival, there were also two other locomotives in steam, apparently in prospect of a charter being organised for a fat fee. The charter had not been ordered and no deal was done. As a result these two locomotives did not move all day. A shame.
Not in normal service, this beautifully-presented Mallet was in steam outside the shed.

The working locomotives here were the best turned out of any mill we have visited. There are multiple clean and shiny diesels at work on field lines as well as around the mill.

There is also a Chinese locomotive that was apparently new in 2009.

I took the decision to leave on the early bus as I had not visited Olean Mill, fabled for its field steam workings, and was not sure that the second bus would make it back in time. It was a slightly unlucky choice because I did not have time to thoroughly take in Semboro with its spacious shed full of discarded steam locomotives and its yard workings, and the late bus did arrive at Olean in time because any prospect of the two conventional locomotives at Semboro working had evaporated by lunch time.
However, Olean was a good mill to visit. There were two locomotives that hauled back cane from the fields and I also saw four powerful water buffalo hauling loaded cane.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday 30 July Probolinggo to Situbondo via Gending, Wonolangan and Pajarakan

Today I visited three sugar mills. The first, and most interesting, was Gending, a 600mm gauge mill, which had some small diesels working in the yard as well as a short field line where cane was being cut and loaded.

The second mill was Wonolangan, which had three not very exciting diesels.

However, the main mill building was very old and with interesting ornamentation.

There was also a grave site of the Etty family, the owners of the mill back in the 1830s, which appears to be when the main building was built.

The third mill visited was Pajarakan, which had a very cramped yard and two Japanese diesels in use.

Near the end of our journey to Situbondo, we came across a fishing village just before sunset and enjoyed photographing the colourful fishing boats.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday 29 July Kediri to Probolinggo via Merican and Kedawung

Today we travelled a fair distance, with a highlight being the mountain section where we passed between a number of dormant volcanoes. It began with a return to Merican mill and ended with a visit to the diesel mill at Kedawung, which still has field lines.
At Merican, the action was similar to yesterday. We witnessed number 2 being used to haul the Mallet in order to rerail its tender and then the tender being derailed again immediately but more seriously this time, with the tender buffer riding up over the locomotive's rear buffer. Some decent springs at the rear end of the Mallet would prevent that happening as well as providing better traction for the front engine, and stopping that sad drooping look.

We saw sugar vans being hauled to the sugar shed and unloaded there.

We saw two more variations on the haulage of empty loris – by a cane delivery truck, using a chain

and by a pair of oxen.
Our scenic trip through the mountains was very enjoyable.

The traffic wasn't too bad and there were not too many roadworks but we had to cross a Bailey Bridge where a mountain stream had washed out the road.

There were interesting villages

and food on sale, as it is everywhere.
Our lunch was a forgettable one (company excepted).

We came at length to Kedawung mill, where no less than five diesels were out on cane haulage in the fields. One item of interest we did see was a disused British-built Baguley diesel and there was also a rare Krauss lookalike Breda locomotive out of use. As with most discarded locomotives in dark sheds, photography is an ongoing challenge.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday 28 July – Cepu to Kediri via Soedhono and Merican

Feeling a whole lot better today – thank goodness!
Our first stop was at Soedhono, a 600mm gauge mill with steam not currently operating, although the two locomotives that can be used were placed for photography for us, with some hand shunting enhancing the effect.

Number 6 is yet another variation of the articulated locomotive concept, known generally as an 'Engerth', but more correctly referred to as a 'St├╝tz tender locomotive' where the tender is articulated to the main part of the engine.

The interest and variety of operations made up for any lack of active steam.
The mill has the usual haulage from unloading station to mill but also also has a very busy operation using two locomotives bringing bagged sugar from the packing area to inside the sugar shed where it is manually stacked by a large gang of men who greatly enjoyed the interruption from foreign visitors.

Thirdly, ash trains are run from the boilers to a dumping area.

After booking into our hotel at Kediri, we proceeded to the nearby Merican mill and were treated to the sight of three 700mm gauge steam locomotives in use. There are no operable diesels.

One of the trio is the last operating Mallet locomotive in industrial service in the world. This system of articulation was developed by a Frenchman, Anatole Mallet, in the 1880s.

Cats are frequently seen at the sugar mills. They are generally more elusive than this one.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday July 27 Cepu Forestry Railway

The day was expected to be long and hot and at 6.30am we were off to the forestry railway depot for a recreation of the use of the 1067mm gauge teak logging line before road transport took over. On arrival, we were greeted by many interested spectators, including this group of schoolboys.

An interesting railbus was at our disposal. We believe that it took an all-night effort to get it operational for our visit.

Two steam locomotives were in use, a delightful 0-6-0WT built by Du Croo and Brauns in Holland in 1950 (!) and a 1928 0-10-0T by Berliner. We had a ride to the woodyard.

Here several runpasts were done.


However, feeling dreadful with an ongoing stomach ailment, I decided to abandon the day before the train departed for the forest, where logs were to be loaded. I got a railbus ride back to the depot and a motor bike ride back to the hotel where I rested up. The tablets I have started taking seem to be doing the trick. Fingers crossed!