Staatsspoorwegen ter Sumatra's Westkust
Esslingen 0-4-2RT first built in 1889. There were 18 of these in total with the last 3 delivered in 1902. Most at least survived until 1921 when they were officially withdrawn, being replaced by the 0-10-0T in 1922. All were based at Padang Panjang for the Rack sections to Kajoetanam, Fort de Koch and Batoetabal.
Please note that many place names have changed over time, as has the spelling of both Dutch names and Indonesian names
In September 1887 the Dutch Parliament authorised the construction of a line from Emmahaven to Sawahloento to transfer coal from the Ombilin mines to the port in the West coast. The line was to be constructed at government expense and would take a circuitous route around and over the mountain ranges to take advantage of more favourable gradients, thus taking 157.2 kms to cover the 57 km straight line distance. Construction started on 6th July 1889. This line was completed in 1891 between Padang(1) and Padang Panjang(2). The sections from Padang Panjang to Solok, Solok to Muaro Kalaban and Padang to Emmahaven (Teluk Bayur) were all completed during 1892(3). The final link from Muaro Kalaban to Sawahlonto was completed on 1st Febuary 1894(1).
Including branch lines the total length was 296.9 kms with 35 kms of rack sections. The steepest gradient on the section used by the coal trains was 1 in 14 (7%) while on the branch line to Bukit Tinggi it was 1 in 12 (8%) reaching a summit of 1,154 metres between the volcanoes Merapi & Singalan.
Note (1) One report states it was completed fromPulau Air (Muaro Padang) with the Padang to Teluk Bayur section completed in 1892; while another implies it was opened throughout from Emmahaven - Sawahlunto in 1891.
Note (2) One report states Padang Panjang - Bukit Tinggi was completed in 1891 while another states it was opened on 1st January 1894.
Note (3) One source states 1892 while another states 1891.
Above: This early map of Padang shows the track layout as it would have been in 1891 with the line to Poelau Air in situ as is the line southwards towards Emmahaven but with no bridge across the Padang River. It also shows lines running into the works compound and a second branch line running into the military hospital, just to the south of the Poelau Air branch. This would seem to indicate that the first statement in Note 1 above is correct.
Below: A map of Emmahaven showing the basic rail layout, photographs show a lot more tracks than shown here.
Teluk Bayur - Sawahlunto (156.5 km). Teluk Bayur = Emmahaven. Opened 1891.
Padang Panjang - Pajakoemboeh (52.1 km). Padang Panjang to Fort de Kock opened 1st January 1894, remainder under construction in 1894, possibly opened 1895.
Padang - Pulau Air (5.5 km). Branch to Padang rivermouth. Not on 1906 map but is on 1903 inset! Shown on 1919 map.
Lubuk Alung - Pariaman (21.5 km). formerly Loeboekaloeng. Built after 1906. Shown on 1919 map.
Pariaman - Sungai Limau (15 km). stops just past Naras on map. Not on 1906 map. Shown on 1919 map.
Payakumbuh - Limbanang (20.2 km). As per map. Not on 1906 map. Opened by 1916. Shown on 1919 map.
Muara Kalaban - Padang Sibusuk (6.2 km). Not on 1906 map. Shown as "exploitatie" on 1922 map. Under construction.
Padang Sibusuk - Muaro Sijunjung (19.9 km). Not on 1906 map. Shown as "exploitatie" on 1922 map. Under construction.
Bukit Putus - Indarung (14.5 km). New line near Padang. Opened 1979.
Duku - Minangkabau International Airport. New line near Padang. Not yet built 2016.
Pulau Aie (Muaro Padang) - Padangpanjang, Padangpanjang - Bukittinggi selesai 1891. Padang Panjang - Solok 1892, kemudian jalur Solok - Muarokalaban, Padang -Telukbayur 1892. Sedangkan jalur Muarokalaban - Sawahlunto selesai 1 February 1894.
I have found an 1894 map showing a branch from Padang Panjang to Fort de Kock (Bukit Tinggi) already open and an extension from Fort de Kock (Bukit Tinggi) to Payakombo under construction. All the rack sections were on these lines.
I now have a map dated 1903 which is similar to the 1906 map but has an inset of Padang at large scale. This inset shows the branch from Padang station following the north bank of the river past Pulau Air up to the river mouth. It also shows another branch to a military hospital just to the south, tracks into the workshops and a track layout for Emmahaven. This map has been folded resulting in a number of breaks along the folds so will need some photoshop restoration.
Previously, I had found a map dated 6th July 1906 which shows the line to Payakombo completed but still no other branches.
Above: A 2-4-0RT built by Esslingen posed on Titi bridge near Payakoemboeh.
Below: 0-4-2RT 35 at Padang Panjang c1895. Later batches of 0-4-2RT had pannier tanks with rounded top and bottom edges and no cut-out for the rack drive. The 2 locomotives in the background with 66 on the left are 0-4-0RT's.
Above: SSS 0-4-0RT copied from an old postcard.
Below: 2-6-0T 27 (formerly SSS 52 and later PJKA C3327) at Emmahaven. Unlike the early rack tanks which had all been retired by 1921 many of these locomotives, including this one built in 1892 survived into the mid 1980s and 3 have been preserved
Above: SSS 0-4-2RT which appears to be to the design introduced by Esslingen in 1902 with pannier type tanks raised well above the rack mechanism, the earlier design having a cut-out for access to the rack mechanism.
Below: An 0-8-2RT pushing a coal train up the rack from Batutabal to Padang Panjang.
Above: 0-10-0RT 123 at Padang Panjang.
Below: E1016, ahead of E1053 and E1051, was delivered with the first batch from Esslingen in 1920, but managed to survive right to the end making a last trip to Bukit Tinggi on the afternoon of 12th July 1984 with a special passenger train. In the morning it had worked the last steam-powered coal train from Kayutanam to Padang Panjang with E1062. E1064 had also been in steam this day and they were still in steam the following day while E1051 and E1053 were also serviceable. The arrival of a batch of rack diesels had spelt the end but they were held in reserve and sometimes steamed in case they might be needed. When I took this picture in August 1985 they were all cold and silent but E1060 was still undergoing overhaul at Padang works. It was later transferred to Ambarawa, Java, where it worked tourist trains until 2008 and has since been based at Sawalunto for the same purpose. It will need to keep working until 2030 to catch up with E1016, which itself has been preserved at Taman Mini in Jakarta, along with two other veterans from West Sumatra which I saw in Padang works at the same time, F1015 and C3318. By a happy coincidence two other locomotives which I saw in the works have also survived, C3322 at Pekanbaru & C3325 at Padang.
A landslide in Anai Valley severely damaged a railway bridge connecting the West Sumatra capital of Padang and neighbouring Bukittinggi on Tuesday30th March 2010. The line between Lubukalung and Padang Panjang has remained closed since then.
Above: An 1894 map showing the lines and rack sections around Padang Panjang and the proposed extension from Bukit Tinggi (Fort de Kock) to Pajakombo.
Below: An undated map showing the lines at the fullest extent about 1930s.
Here is a link to a map showing the locations of the rack sections: http://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/tales/wilson02.htm#Map
The following Locomotive data has been derived from a number of sources but not all appear to be prime sources (direct from Manufacturer's records or the owning company records). Where there is general agreement the data appears in blue while where there are discrepancies they are in green with remarks at the side. No definitive data has been found for the numbers 9-14 but I have a photograph of an 0-4-2RT with the number 11 or 12 on the chimney. Some works numbers do not match the years quoted by a long way; it may be that some were returned for refurbishment or rebuild (see 27-30) then came back with original works numbers but new dates and were then given new running numbers; it is also possible that some were lost at sea during delivery so replacements were sent out - this could account for 2 extra 2-6-0T locomotives. We may never find the truth.
I have now obtained a number of copies of Works lists from various manufacturers and other sources, all sourced by me from the Stephenson Locomotive Society. One Esslingen list shows works numbers 2512 & 2513 duplicated. The first entry for each is for 0-4-2T locomotives supplied to NZASM in South Africa by Saronno, a company set up by Esslingen which uses both its own numbers and Esslingen numbers, with a plate for each factory affixed to the locomotives. South African records confirm they had these two locomotives. The second entries for 2512 & 2513 do not have any details except for B1/a for Padang-Sawahloento. This could well be an error in my opinion.
Regarding Esslingen 2269-2272 the lists show these built in 1889 at Esslingen with no mention of Saronno. None of the Saronno lists mention these numbers but other sources do, but with a date of 1894. As they were built before the line opened and several years before the rack section was started it is my view that they were built for construction as standard 0-4-2T, with running numbers in the range 9-14 and later returned to Saronno for conversion to 0-4-2RT for use in construction of the rack section, hence they would also then carry Saronno rebuild plates dated 1894, and on return to Sumatra given new running numbers 27-30.
For PNKA numbers those in red I have seen and/or photographed the locomotive with that number (I was not permitted to take photos inside Padang works), those with the last two digits in red I had seen and/or photographed some parts of the locomotive (several were dismantled inside Padang works) while those with two digits in green were at Padang or Solok, again mainly just parts without identity but the numbers assumed from records from others who saw them being cut up at that location. In general cylinder blocks and fireboxes tended to be left where the locomotive had been cut up so an earlier picture showing a derelict identifiable locomotive in the same location was used to determine what had been there. At Solok there were several photographs in the station of the scene when the cutting up started a few days before I arrived to find nothing but the cylinder blocks and fireboxes of 4 F10s and 5 C33s. Since there were 6 F10s and 7 C33s recorded there earlier I should be able to narrow it down to 9 out of 12 as F1015 was moved to Padang. It is also not clear whether the renumbering took place in 1912, as in Java, or much later.
I have two pictures below of SS 34, one is an 0-4-2RT at Pajoekoemboeh and the other is a 2-6-0T at Emmahaven! The 0-4-2RT was built in 1889 and only written off in 1921, but may have been withdrawn before, and was never renumbered. The 2-6-0T was built in 1894 as SSS 24 and at some point renumbered to 34, later becoming C3334 on the PJKA system.
In January 1981 and August 1983 locomotives derelict at Solok were C3327/28/33/34/36/38 and F1001/14/21/28. Probably I miscounted the fireboxes/cylinder blocks and these locomotives were the source of the remains.
Listing of all locomotives known to have worked in West Sumatra.
C1110, C1112, C1128, C1905, C1907, F1001, F1014, F1015, F1021 & F1023 transferred here from Java by 1970s.
In the early years the system used the abbreviation SSS, at least on some buildings and documents, but at some point in time this was changed to SS. In spite of this the locomotives remained in separate number series so most numbers between 1 and 125 were duplicated. At least the classes were different so the types used in West Sumatra were not found in Java, though some Javan types were found in South Sumatra, such as the ex- Solo Valleiwerken locos which were used on construction and numbered between SS 24 and SS 45. This has caused a few problems when trying to identify locomotives from old photographs where the only data is that provided by non-railway knowledgeable people when scanning old photographs for museum collections. I have used SSS for all the West Sumatra locomotives in my filenames and captions to avoid confusion. Most of the pictures below are from either Tropen-Museum or KITLV with those from elsewhere annotated where known.
Above: 0-4-2RT SSS 34 on the rack near Payakoemboeh.
Below: 2-6-0T SSS 34 at Emmahaven.
Above: An unidentified 2-4-0RT posed on Titi bridge, Payoekoemboeh.
Below: SSS 33 and another unidentified class member at a passing loop between rack sections.
Above and below: 2-6-0T SSS 32 at Solok
Above: 2-6-0T SSS 34 at Emmahaven.
Above and below: 0-4-2RT 35 at Padang Panjang c1895. Later batches of 0-4-2RT had pannier tanks with rounded top and bottom edges and no cut-out for the rack drive. The 2 locomotives in the background with 66 on the left are 0-4-0RT's.
Below: SSS 0-4-2RT 62
Above and below: SSS 0-8-2RT 102 climbing from Batoetabal to Padang Panjang with a coal train.
Above: 0-10-0RT 123 at Padang Panjang.
Below: A coal train descending the Anai valley with two engines, one leading and the other cut into the middle. Likely two trains attached together.
Above: A rack train descending towards a passing loop.
Below: 0-8-2RT 102 on the rack between Batutabal and Padang Panjang.
Above: A pair of 2-6-0T locomotives with a mixed train of coal and passengers skirts Lake Singkarek between Batutabal and Solok.
Below: An early picture of Emmahaven.
Above: Coal trains at a passing loop.
Above and below: Padang Panjang is a junction of 3 rack systems and is a hive of activity in these pictures.
Above: An 0-10-0RT propels a passenger train through the jungle.
Below: Sawoelento coal terminal.
Above: A passenger train pauses for a photostop near Padang.
Below: A coal train at a passing loop.
Created 5th January 2016.
1st December 2016.
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