The World’s Fastest Narrow-
THE RAILWAY TERMINUS of the port of Semarang, situated on the north coast of Java. The terminus is served by the Netherlands Indies Railway Company. Express trains connect Batavia, the capital, with this port.
TWO large railway systems vie with one another for the distinction of working the fastest trains in the world over narrow-
The island of Java forms a part of the extensive and important Dutch possessions in the East Indies, which total 750,000 square miles in area and nearly 61,000,000 in population. In Java some 42,000,000 people find a home. Indeed, it is more densely populated than any European country, including Belgium, because all this population is concentrated in an island 622 miles long, varying in width from 60 to 120 miles, and having an area of 48,504 square miles. In many ways Java has reached a very forward state of development, which helps to explain why its railways are so advanced. The building of good roads and the opening up of air services in various directions, too, have encouraged the railway authorities, as in so many other countries, to speed up the trains to the utmost possible limit, in order to fight this competition. Including the railways in Sumatra, Borneo, and Celebes, 4,617 miles of line, of different gauges and belonging to various owners, have been laid in the Dutch East Indian colonies. In Java alone the State railway mileage is 1,844.
The two largest cities in Java -
1,844 MILES OF TRACK, owned by the State, serve Java’s population of 42,000,000. There are also private lines. The above map shows the chief routes and towns served.
In the middle of Java there is a privately-
The interesting part of this latter system, in the middle of the island, is that for some years it cut the State lines completely in halves. There were the western lines, based on Batavia and Bandoeng, and the eastern lines, based on Soerabaja, separated by this stretch of the N.I.S., from Djokjakarta to Soerakarta, on the wider gauge, a circumstance that necessitated a double transhipment of both passengers and freight. At last, by an amicable arrangement between both railway managements, “mixed” gauge was laid along “The Connection” as it is known -
In addition to these two trunk lines, there is a ramified system, on the north side of the island, of privately-
It is on the main line between Batavia and Soerabaja that the highest speeds in Java are run. Until after the war of 1914-
The hazards of train operation in a country such as Java are well illustrated by the fact that a water buffalo once strayed on to the main line near Batavia. This was at a point where the track crosses a river and the animal caused so disastrous a derailment -
CROSSING A VIADUCT in the Preanger Mountains. To reach Bandoeng from Batavia the train has to ascend gradients as steep as 1 in 45.
After the Great War a new line was constructed linking Cheribon, on the north coast, where the island is at its narrowest, with Kroja, on the south side. Thus a new and shorter route was created along the length of the island. Between Proepoek and Kroja, where the line crosses the backbone of the island, the maximum altitude of 1,614 ft is reached, by dint of a hard pull up from both sides; but otherwise the main trunk line is now fairly level throughout.
The result of opening this new link was to cut down the quickest train time for the Batavia-
Since then the time has come down to 12 hours 20 minutes, which entails an average speed of 41.5 miles an hour inclusive of a dozen intermediate stops, and the climb over the summit which has just been mentioned.
Over the flat stretches of the line some of the train timings, both in the matter of long-
As compared with the coaches used, say, in Great Britain, those employed in Java are, as previously mentioned, light, but travellers in that country unite in paying tribute to the smoothness of the running, despite the narrow gauge, at these high speeds. The “Limited” express comprises about half a dozen passenger coaches, with a restaurant car, and is worked by up-
But over some of the mountainous-
As will be explained in a chapter on Unconventional Locomotives, Mallet engines are of an articulated type, somewhat resembling the Garratt type,. with two independent sets of cylinders and motion at the two ends of the engine, on independent chassis, each of which has freedom to swing round the curve. But instead of the two chassis being connected by a girder frame which. carries the boiler, a Mallet locomotive has the boiler mounted immediately above the wheels; the two chassis are therefore comparatively close together,. and the engine as a whole is considerably shorter than a Garratt. Further, compound propulsion is used, the high pressure cylinders being mounted on one chassis, and the low-
ON THE MAIN LINE. The Batavia-
Various types of Mallet compounds are used in Java, but the particular variety which takes over the Bandoeng trains is the latest of the 2-
Onwards to the east from Bandoeng, important connecting trains are run, in place of the original main line service, to link up with the Batavia-
This route, through the mountains, is in places as steep as 1 in 40, and constantly winds, with very sharp curves, that explain the preference of the railway management for articulated locomotives. It was once worked by some unique tank locomotives having no fewer than six axles coupled -
Many remarkable steel viaducts have also been thrown across the ravines in this wild country, but tunnelling, on the other hand, appears to have been successfully avoided, as in the whole of the island there are only four short tunnels.
Midway between Bandoeng and Bandjar is Tjibatoe, from which a branch runs southwards to Garoet, in the heart of the volcanic region, and now extended to Tjikadjang, which is 4,000 ft above the sea. There are long inclines at 1 in 26 on this branch. Between Tjibatoe and Bandjar, the main line from Bandoeng to Soerabaja falls 1,900 ft in sixty miles.
Bandoeng, a local capital, is 2,332 ft above sea-
Reference has already been made to the fact that electric trains have come into use round the city of Batavia, which has about 440,000 inhabitants. Included in the electrification scheme is first the “Ringbaan”, or “Circle Railway”, coming up from the port of Tandjongpriok through Pasarsenen to Meestercornelis, with a branch from Kemajoran into the main station at Batavia; over this a service is run at fifteen-
A PASSENGER TRAIN about to enter a tunnel near Tjitjoeroeg, on the Netherlands Indies Railway Company’s line. The single track will be noticed; all main lines in Java, except those in the vicinity of Batavia, are single track.
Another route, with half-
Java possesses the most progressive railway system in the tropics, and one of the world’s most efficient narrow-