The International Steam Pages
In 1970 Dusty Durrant first visited Indonesia and reported on the astonishing variety of steam power that not only still existed but which, after a fashion, was still at work. I first visited Indonesia in 1974 and over the next few years made several trips to the islands of Java and Sumatra, obtaining what is probably the best individual collection of slides in the World.
However, I am very conscious that others have been there too and I have raided the collections of a number of photographers to make up a unique historical record of the closing years of steam. (The other contributors are Hugh Ballantyne, Keith Chester, Jim Comber, Gerald Dixon, Tony Eaton, Michael Egan, Rod Farr, Chris Halliwell, Peter Hodge, Lawrence Marshall, Peter Michie, Blake Paterson, Basil Roberts, Ian Searle, Andrew Smith, John Tillman, Nick Tindall, Geoff Todd, Jamie Waite and Chris Wilkinson). While Sweet Dreams covers the Javanese sugar mills, this CD covers the main line systems on Java and Sumatra. By way of a bonus there is also coverage of the oil palm railways of North Sumatra, the Cepu forest railway in Java and the legendary Aceh Tramway.
The CD is now released. There are more than 900 pictures taken between 1971 and 1998. Each image is designed to be presented on a 800x600 (sVGA) screen using 'Hi-color setting'. There are also 25 short video clips. Virtually none of these pictures has ever been published before.
Incredible Indonesia features in action:
Don't just take my word for it. Click here to see what other people have to say about our first CD Sweet Dreams.
Incredible Indonesia is available for the Windows 95
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"If "Sweet Dreams" was for me a pleasant surprise, then the second CD-ROM produced by Rob Dickinson in conjunction with "Images of Rail" is a revelation, both for its content and for its demonstration of the potential of the medium. Entitled "Incredible Indonesia", it is altogether a far more sophisticated production and has eliminated the irritation of repeated images.
"Incredible Indonesia" offers us 25 video clips and over 900 images of PJKA steam, plus North Sumatran oil palm railways, Cepu forestry railway and the famous Aceh Tramway; nearly all of these photos date from 1970 onwards. Whilst the principal main lines had (sadly) already been long dieselised, there was still an amazing variety of steam active on secondary and branch line duties. Indeed there was probably no country in the world in 1970 where it was possible to see such a truly incredible diversity of motive power. As Rob notes: "Indonesia had everything" - from diminutive 0-4-0 tram locos with skirts, to 0-4-0 tender locos, to classic Beyer Peacock 2-4-0s dating from the 1870s, to compound 4-4-0s and elegant pacifics, to the unique 2-12-2Ts, to the last main line compound Mallet tender locos in the world, to modern 2-8-2s, and just about everything else in between you can think of. Fortunately, enough gricers went to the country after 1969-70 in time to record the last 15 years or so of Indonesian steam; unfortunately, little of what they photographed has ever been published. So we are to be more than grateful to Rob, who has been able to dip into their work to provide this comprehensive colour (and occasionally black & white) tribute to the fantastic steam locomotives of Indonesia.
Does the CD-ROM live up to its title? The answer has to be an emphatic yes. The photography is at times mundane and uninspired, but perversely this is irrelevant, for it is the sheer number of images available here which brings out just how variegated Indonesia's steam power was just a mere 25-30 years ago. As in Indonesia itself (and yes, I'm prejudiced, it was my favourite country for gricing), there is rarely a dull moment in "Incredible Indonesia". Rob's next CD-ROM is on Cuba - I'm curious to see whether, given the comparative lack of motive power variety and operation, interest can be sustained over 900 images in the easy way it is in "Incredible Indonesia".