Identification mission historical rolling stock Indonesia

Historical rolling stock
Identification mission
20th Century
Project start: 
12 oktober 2014
Project end: 
19 oktober 2014
In October 2014 an identification mission on Indonesia’s historical rolling stock took place on Java. This field trip was part of the Dutch policy framework on Shared Cultural Heritage concerning the revitalisation of Indonesia’s railway heritage. The mission was executed by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the National Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum Valkenburg upon request of the Heritage Conservation and Architecture Design division of the Indonesian railway company. The identification mission was executed within a long-term programme of activities on the revitalisation of Indonesia’s railway heritage. In some parts of Indonesia old steam trains once built by Dutch and German factories are still running. This ‘mobile heritage’ is quite unique. These authentic narrow gauge steam locomotives and coaches are kept ‘alive’ for tourists, as part of a museum collection or as vital machines on (sugar and teak) plantations. One can see them still running and puffing, but the sight is rare. At the same time the locomotives on the plantations are rapidly disappearing, due to modernization and lack of maintenance. This living industrial heritage is very vulnerable, as it is over one hundred years old and difficult to maintain or repair. Spare parts are not easy at hand and technical expertise is lacking to restore properly. During the identification mission it was investigated how Dutch expertise can be used to preserve this mobile heritage for the future. OBJECTIVES The identification mission was aimed at three main issues: • first, investigating and defining the current state of maintenance and the need for restoration of the historical rolling stock of Indonesia’s railways, on Java; • secondly, strengthening the policy on collection management; • and finally, defining the Dutch contribution in reaching this goal. RESULTS The mission incorporated an intensive programme of eight days, visiting more than ten railway heritage locations in and around the cities of Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Solo, Cepu, Ambarawa, Semarang, Tegal and Bandung. The Dutch team members gave several presentations on technical and cultural historical themes, two press conferences and organised a workshop with fifty Indonesian participants and stakeholders. Along the way interesting discussions with the local management and staff took place concerning the collection management and heritage. The visit has resulted in observations on the current state of maintenance and the need for restoration of the historical rolling stock of Indonesia’s railways on Java. The observations include remarks on what can be considered positive and what still forms a challenge or needs to be improved. A brief yet comprehensive report was produced to list all the main observations, conclusions and recommendations of the identification mission. It also provides a starting point for possible future international cooperation between the Netherlands and Indonesia. See also: Ben de Vries (Expert) National Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum Valkenburg (Organisation) Ben de Vries (Expert) Gerard de Graaf (Expert) Richard Schild (Expert)
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