30 January 2009

PT KA set to revive Padang-Sawahlunto railway line

Syofiardi Bachyul Jb , THE JAKARTA POST , PADANG Fri, 01/16/2009 The Archipelago

State railway company PT Kereta Api will soon operate an excursion train serving Padang city to Sawahlunto in West Sumatra, passing through six regencies and offering beautiful sights along the 150-kilometer railway line.

KA West Sumatra Regional Division spokesman Syafrial Romeo said the train service was slated to be launched in February with package tours but no regular service. It is expected to serve domestic and foreign tourists in groups.

"We are still waiting for West Sumatra Governor Gamawan Fauzi to discuss the plan with the heads of regencies," he said Tuesday.

The train service is scheduled to leave the Simpang Haru station in Padang and travel by tourist sites such as the Lembah Anai valley and its waterfall, across a 101-meter long and 19-meter high bridge, and 19-kilometer around Lake Singkarak.

One of the line's unique features is a 33.8-kilometer cog railway track in Lembah Anai, purported to be one of only two in the world.

"A special locomotive is needed to pass along the cog, or rack railway, and for that we will operate the BB204 diesel locomotive," said Syafrial.

KA will also revive the Sawahlunto-Muaro Kalaban short route by operating the E1060 steam locomotive which was returned last month from Ambarawa, Central Java. Only five units of the vintage E1060 locomotive were made in Germany, specially for the route.

On Thursday, the regional division head, Husein Nurroni said that in addition to the Padang-Sawah-lunto route, the company also plans to open short routes to Muara Kalaban, Silungkang and Singkarak Lake using the diesel locomotive.

He also said Vice President Jusuf Kalla is expected to officially open the tourism routes late January or early February.

Syafrial said KA had completed repairs on the Padang-Sawahlunto line using Rp 6.7 billion (US$600,000) of funds provided by the Transportation Ministry and Rp 500 million from the provincial budget, much of which was used to restore bridges and railway sleepers.

The Teluk Bayur-Padang-Sawah-lunto railway line was constructed by the Dutch colonial administration in 1881 to transport coal from Sawahlunto to the Teluk Bayur Port. The line stopped serving passengers in 1980 and coal consignments were halted in 2003.

The West Sumatra provincial administration and a number of municipalities and regencies along the length of the line, as well as KA, are committed to reviving the train service for tourism. The idea of reviving the train service was spearheaded by the West Sumatra Train Lovers Community and aficionados of Mak Itam, literally meaning black uncle (a term coined for steam locomotive in Minangkabau language).

Copyright © 2008 The Jakarta Post - PT Bina Media Tenggara. All Rights Reserved.

Source URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/01/16/pt-ka-set-revive-padangsawahlunto-railway-line.html

26 January 2009

Bojonegoro Collision

Trains collide head on in Bojonegoro, 2 dead, 3 injured

The Jakarta Post (Fri, 01/23/2009)

A passenger train traveling at high speed collided head-on with a freight train at Kapas Station in Bojonegoro, East Java, on Friday afternoon, killing two crew men and injuring three other people.

The freight train conductor Sarjan and his assistant Agus were both killed. The passenger train conductor Harjo Suwito was one of the injured along with two other victims who have not yet been identified.

The victims were taken to Sosodoro Jatikusumo Hospital.

Investigators from the Bojonegoro police and railway officials said they suspected the accident was caused by a failure in the tracking-switching mechanism which put both trains on the same track heading towards each other. They said, however, more time was needed to verify that assumption. (and)

Train locomotive engineer likely to have ignored signs: police

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta (01/25/2009)

The police reported Sunday that human error had been a factor in a train collision that left two dead and dozens injured in Bojonegoro, East Java, on Friday.

Preliminary investigation by the Bojonegoro police indicated that a train locomotive engineer had ignored traffic signal.

Bojonegoro police chief Agus Hidayat said the police were still gathering statements from witnesses to the incident to determine the causes of the crash but had yet to name suspects.

"The police will start to name names as soon as all witnesses have undergone questioning," Hidayat said, as quoted by Antara newswire.

"Give it two or three days and we will disclose the suspect that had caused the train collision," he added.

Meanwhile Antara reported that local resident Kentinah, 37, had claimed to have seen the locomotive engineer of passenger train Rajawali disregarding a red stop sign located next to the railway tracks.

The Semarang bound Rajawali train was reportedly travelling at high speed when it switched lanes and collided head-on with cargo train Antabogo, killing two crew members of the cargo train.

Source URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/01/23/trains-collide-head-bojonegoro-2-dead-3-injured.html

13 January 2009

C1412 update

C1412 is now back to its former (albeit only static) glory.

And they have even installed floodlights to light it up at night

10 January 2009

IRPS Cepu Forestry Railway Tour

On 28 December 2008 the Indonesian Railways Preservation Society (IRPS) organised an excursion at the Cepu Forestry Railways. About 60 IRPS members, plus around 20 non-members, took part on this four hours trip. The 30 kilometer track from Cepu to the teakwood forest memorial at Gubug Payung is part of the Indonesian State Forestry Company’s 1067 mm Cape gauge rail network in the area, built in 1915. Most of the network, however, has been closed, and only a few sections, such as the Cepu-Gubug Payung line, remain.

Route of the Cepu Forestry Railway

Teakwood (Tectona grandis L.f.) is not a native of Indonesia, but this high quality wood was already known in Java since the 14th century. Teakwood forests are mainly found along Java’s north coast. The best teakwood in the world are those grown in the hills of Cepu, Central Java. From pre-colonial days this area has supplied timber for the ship making industries of Tegal, Juana, Jepara, Rembang, Lasem and Tuban.

By the end of the 19th century the Dutch colonial government had greatly intensified the exploitation of the teakwood forests. The local people who used to freely collect wood from the forests were not allowed to enter. The people protest took the form of movements such as that founded by Samin Surosentiko in Blora (near Cepu). Saminism has evolved into a moral teaching, stressing non-violence, truth and honesty.

It is not known how many locomotives have served on the Cepu forestry line. What is left now are three Berliner Maschinebau-Actien-Gesellschaft (BMAG) engines, two Du Croo and Brauns engines and a Ruston and Hornsby Diesel engine. There is also a former Indonesian Railway Company (PTKA) engine, C2902.

”Bahagia”, one of the three identical 0-10-0T BMAGs.

One of the delightful DuCroo & Brauns

It has been several years since these engines have been used for real logging activities. Following the fall of the Suharto government in 1998, widespread illegal logging has taken place and now the Forestry Company is trying to rehabilitate the teak forests. Now, the steam engines are solely used to haul chartered tourist trains (which are not very often and far in between). The IRPS tour did not attempt to be "authentic", in the sense of recreating the logging trains of the past and, therefore, no log wagons were attached to the engine. Considering that December is in the rainy season, and that not all passengers were hard-core railway enthusiasts it was decided to attach three passenger coaches instead.

This is how a real logging train looks like (photo: Rob Dickinson)

The train was just a passenger train hauled by a steam locomotive traveling through a teakwood forest. A bit boring, actually, for the fanatic enthusiasts. But, because it was not possible to take water anymore midway, the train took two tank wagons instead of the usual one, which proved to be a blessing. These wagons were fully occupied by the hard-liners, while the coaches were half empty.

Here at Pancuran Bregojo the engines used to take water. Now they stop only to transfer wood.

The Cepu Forestry Railway is now also facing a staff crisis. Sudiran (driver) and Asmadi (fireman) will both retire within a year, and there are no people prepared to replace them.

Driver Sudiran (above) and fireman Asmadi (below, with my son Nandi)