Railroad technology is difficult to explain without knowing railroad technology development. One of them is railroad history.

Railroad use has been known by human since 2000BC. If soil condition is wet then wheel will press the soil and leaving track like. So when it’s passed several times, the soil will stiffen and solid. Pushing the cart thorough solid soil proving that cart is easier to run.

Pushing the cart in mining alley was needed special knowledge of railroad. To make cart does not hit the wall, it was equipped with tool in front of cart that protect cart movement to follow alley direction. In 18 century, it was made wood board which called Wagonway to transport coal.

After iron invention, wheel was made which have durability and coated wheel surface that tangent with road with thin iron layer. Besides that, iron was used to coated wood road surface. In 1767, Von Reynolds coated wood layer with cast iron on top and enhance both side.

After known with effective iron processing, it was made railroad that replace wood road. Railroad was made from cast iron with cleavage that hopes can give accurate wheel direction. Road with this material is called Plateway. In 1782, von Jessops using cast iron rail and change rail shape from canal shape to mushroom shape in line with wheel invention that equipped by flens.

Rail that made by cast iron often breakdown especially in middle part. So it was made rail that enhance in the middle like fish belly. In 1820, it is start to use forged steel rail with better pull forced.

There are two choices for making wheel with flens which is wheel flens in outside or inside. Outside flens cause difficulties when turning. The best way is using inside flens. Cylindrical wheel with inside flens caused wheel will always touch the rail in one side and make constant friction between inside rail and wheel flens when moving. To solve the problem, wheels are made cone.

Width-legged wheel start to use in 1839, develop by Steven which start to make rail experiment since 1830.

The rail construction begins with the first scoop up railway construction by the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, LAJ Baron Sloet Van De Beele on June 17, 1864. The first railway was built by a private company called NIS (Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij) starting from Samarang to Tanggung along the 26 km and inaugurated on August 10, 1867. The railroad was 1435 mm gauge line. Development path continues to Solo and Yogyakarta, and then incorporated on June 10, 1872. As Indonesia's mountainous topography, the Dutch East Indies government set a 1067 mm gauge line as a gauge line more suitable for the topography of Indonesia. During the Dutch East Indies government, precisely to 1939, the length of the tracks in Indonesia has reached 6811 km.

But the history of railways in Indonesia recorded a time of concern that is at times the Japanese government. Along approximately 901 km disappear, which is expected because the rails are unloaded during the Japanese government rule was transported to Burma for the construction of rail roads there. In fact, according to data from the Directorate General of Railways in 2006, railway operating only 4360 km and not operate along the 2122 km.

Railroad is a major infrastructure in the railways because of train can only pass on the road specially constructed for it. Gauge line that ever existed in Indonesia : 1435 mm, 1067 mm, 750 mm and 600 mm. Types of railroads that have been used in Indonesia : R25, R33, R42 and R54. Almost all of the track (both active rail road or not active) in Indonesia is now a valuable history asset and made it one of public facilities and a national asset that needs to be guarded and preserved.

Icon Heritage Track Description Company


Bogor - Sukabumi - Bandung The first mainline from Jakarta to Bandung, which was built between 1881 until 1884. Indonesia’s first railway tunnel was built on this line. That is the 686 meters Lampegan railway tunnel. 90 % of the stations still retain their original SS architecture. Scenic mountain and countryside views along the way. Total length: 140 kilometres. SS (Staatsspoorwegen)


Cikampek - Purwakarta - Bandung The second Jakarta – Bandung mainline which was built between 1902 until 1906. Sasaksaat tunel (length: 950 meters) is located in this line. There are more than 400 bridges. The famous bridges are Cikubang, Cirangrang, Cisomang and Ciganea. The tallest bridge in Indonesia is located in along this line. That is the 100 metres high Cisomang bridge. Scenic mountain view. Total length : 75 kilometres. SS (Staatsspoorwegen)


Bandung - Banjar The railway line was built to connect the city of Bandung with Yogyakarta. It was constructed between 1884 and 1894. Featuring scenic view between Leles and Lebakjero, including the famed Leles horseshoe curve. Featuring an unique Cirahong bridge, where the interior of the bridge steel structure (underneath the railway line) also acted as a road bridge. Natural mountain view. Total length: 157 kilometres. SS (Staatsspoorwegen)


Tuntang - Ambarawa - Bedono The railway line was constructed by NIS to mobilize Dutch military from Semarang to Ambarawa. The line was opened in 1873. Featuring rack railway line between Jambu - Bedono and Bedono - Gemawang. This railway line is currently disconnected from the active mainline (the Semarang-Solo line). The station area is also acted as an icon for Semarang regency. Total length: 14,5 kilometres. NIS (Nederlandsch-Indische Spoorweg maatschappij)


Purwokerto - Purwokerto Timur The sole remaining line of former SDS which is connected with the current mainline (Yogyakarta – Purwokerto) at Purwokerto station. Purwokerto – Purwokerto Timur railway line is a part of Purwokerto - Wonosobo railway line (92,1 km lengths). The SDS railway line (Maos – Purwokerto – Wonosobo) was constructed in 1893. At the time it was built to carry produces from Wonosobo to Cilacap. It was briefly used for fertilizer and cement (by Pupuk Sriwijaya and Semen Cilacap respectively) traffic from Cilacap to Purwokerto Timur, but up until 1985. Total length: 5 km. SDS (Serajoedal Stoomtram Maatschappij)

Purwokerto - Purwokerto Timur
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By PDJK Payday jack

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Photo's Courtesy KITLV, The Netherlands