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On December 29, 2007, the Bandung branch of Indonesia Railway Preservation Society (IRPS) coordinated a tour at the closed railway line in Banjar-Pangandaran-Cijulang. The team consisted of Asep, Pura, Hendra, M. Rizky, Krisnaharel and his wife, Nurcahyo, Aryo and Intrias. Of the members of team, only Aryo who was forced to return to Bandung early for his motorcycle had an engine failure.

ex pangandaran station

The team gathered in a hotel in Pangandaran on December 30. At 07.05 a.m. (GMT+7) they departed to Cijulang. They arrived at the former Cijulang Station 53 minutes later. The building was not in a good condition. Inside the building were tables and an iron safe deposit box  to hold money and papers. The local villagers stored timbers in the station. The station emplacement had become a volleyball field, whereas steel rails and sleepers were relatively intact. There was also a locomotive depot. The team talked to a local villager. She said the rails and the sleepers were relatively intact because the villagers prevented outsiders from taking them. The reason was the villagers would face the consequences if PT Kereta Api’s assets were missing. The team also found out that the three rail tracks on the station emplacement were directed to a big building near a football field. The team concluded the switches were located inside the big building.

IRPS members in ex pangandaran station
from left: Intrias, Pura, Asep, Nurcahyo, Krisnaharel and his wife, Hendra, M. Rizky

At 08.44 the team returned to Pangandaran while tracing the tracks. Between Cijulang-Kondang Jajar, the tracks were parallel to the road. The team also found a rail which had been cut by irresponsible person(s). On a former rail bridge in Cijaluhilir, rails and sleepers were still intact, whereas all rail spikes had already gone. The team continued walking to former Parigi Station. Only some doors and wall remained. There were also some rail parts, iron sleepers, and a switch. The sleepers were dated 1930.

The team arrived at former Cibenda Station at 09.32. The remains of the station were a lump of dirt and a single track, on which a goat cage stood. The rail was manufactured by Krupp and dated 1887. At 09.56 the team arrived at former railway bridge in Cikembulan. Similar to the railway bridge at Cijaluhilir, all rail spikes had already gone.

At former Pangandaran Station, the team saw cracks on the wall of the station, probably due to the previous earthquake(s). The emplacement and the railway lines had been transformed into cassava and banana fields. The building was used to store wooden boards. Signboards of train dispatcher and station master were still intact. Curiosity arose due to the use of 1972 perfected-writing-system instead of Soewandi’s writing system on the signboards .

Wilhelmina tunnel

At 12.22 the team arrived at a former small rail bridge in Ciputrapinggan. Only the frame of the bridge remained. Rails and sleepers on the bridge had vanished. 15 minutes later the team arrived at big rail bridge in Ciputrapinggan which was near the coast. The railroad to the bridge had been converted into a small river and fish ponds.

The team arrived at a tunnel — the longest in Indonesia (being 1,216 meters) — named by local villagers as Terowongan Sumber, yet the Dutch named it Queen Wilhelmina tunnel. There were no trace of rails, sleepers, Sumber Station, etc. Actually, there was a station named Sumber Station by the local villagers and two rail tracks. There was a water stagnation due to the leaks on the wall of the tunnel.

The Bengkok tunnel (the then Juliana tunnel) was about 300 meters from the previous tunnel. It was named Bengkok for it was not a straight tunnel, but a curved one. It was a 10-minute walk from Sumber tunnel to this tunnel. The team discussed the possibility of the railway line between Sumber and Bengkok was built on a high ground. This was due to the steep slopes on both sides of the line.

ex kalipucang station

The team continued the journey to Cikacepit railway bridge. Before reaching the destination, they stopped at a food kiosk. The bridge could be seen from distance. At the same location, one could see the Citanduy River, Cimeneng River, Cibeureum river, Cikonde River, and some factories. After passing the 100-meters-long Warungbungur/Cikacepit tunnel (the then Prins Hendrik tunnel), the team finally arrived as Cikacepit bridge — a 1,250-meters-long and 1.7-meters-wide railway bridge. It was 100 meters above the ground and no guardrails for people who walked on the bridge.

The team continued the tour to former Kalipucang Station. The station was bigger than former Pangandaran Station. Unfortunately some parts of the building had fallen down, especially the roof due to aging wooden vertical supports. In 2000 there was a CR passenger car, now all that remained of it was a broken door. A man came to greet the team. His name was Dulbasir. He was born in Kebumen and a former employee of Perusahaan Jawatan Kereta Api. He worked at the railroad and bridge section between Banjar and Cijulang. He said there were many trains, up to five trainsets, passed Banjar-Cijulang. Diesel-hydraulic locomotives used to serve on the line. Unfortunately he forgot the class of the locomotives. The team guessed the locomotives were of the class D300 and BB300.

The team left the Kalipucang Station at 05.11 p.m. At this point, the team split into two. Asep, Pura, and Intrias went to former Banjarsari Station, whereas the others went directly to Banjar Station. All rails and sleepers had been taken by Perusahaan Umum Kereta Api around the year 2000. Actually there was a plan to reopen the Banjar-Pangandaran-Cijulang line. Unfortunately, the 1997 (1998?) monetary crisis struck Indonesia when the project reached Banjarsari. Therefore, the project was abandoned.

ex banjarsari station

All members of the team gathered in Banjar Station at 7.50 p.m. They returned to Bandung, except Intrias who went to Majenang. The team arrived back in Bandung at 01.00 a.m. the next day.

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