The World’s Oldest Steam Train Trail in Solo, Central Java

That morning, the sound of the boiler sounded melodiously breaking the silence at Purwosari Station, Solo, Central Java. Puffs of white smoke also seemed to burst out adorn the cloudless blue sky.

From a distance, an old dark black carriage sweet on the side of the platform. It is Sepur Kluthuk Jaladara, this train or locomotive will take us to explore the beauty of Solo.

There is a feeling that is difficult to describe by words when the Okezone Travel Team saw the appearance of the Sepur Kluthuk Jaladara steam train for the first time. The scrap metal that forms the main foundation of the train is still well maintained and stands firm, even though it is now 123 years old.

Stacks of teak wood neatly arranged beside the chimney as if adding to the magical power emanating from the train. This view feels even more perfect when splashes of water begin to wet the face, indicating the train will leave soon.

Yes, right at 08.00 WIB, Pudjiono who was assigned as a machinist, invited the group to immediately enter the wooden car that was right behind the steam train.

“Monggo, we’re going to leave soon,” Pudjiono said while throwing a smile.

With a speed of no more than 10-20 km / h, the Sepur Kluthuk Jaladar train begins to penetrate the crowd of Solo City and immediately seizes the attention of local residents. Some road users seemed to stop recording antique locomotives using their smartphones.

The hordes of school children also looked very excited, and incessantly waved towards us.

According to Pudjiono, the Kluthuk Jaladara railroad has indeed become its own entertainment for locals and tourists alike. Moreover, the route which passes through Slamet Riyadi Street, the main road in the city of Solo.

“Only through Jalan Slamet Riyadi mas. But it can stop at a number of tourist spots, adjusted to passenger demand because the rail itself is on the side of the highway,” explained Pudjiono.

Returned to operations thanks to President Joko Widodo’s request:

Pudjiono explained, the German-made antique train was back in operation thanks to the initiation of President Joko Widodo while still serving as Mayor of Solo. Even then, it was Pudjiono who was trusted by Jokowi to take this train from his resting place in Ambarawa, Central Java.

At that time in 2009, I took it from Ambarawa and took it to Solo because Pak Jokowi directly asked for it, recalls Pudjiono.

After operating for about 10 years, the C1218 model steam train, which was produced by Maschinenbau Chemnitz in 1896, became a major attraction for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Unfortunately, within a year, Jaladara only operates 80 times. For tourists who are interested in riding it, they must make a reservation in advance.

The purpose of this quota limitation is intended to maintain the performance of the train considering that he is no longer young. In addition, Pudjiono also took approximately three hours to heat the fire, before the train could depart.

“In addition to heating the fire to burn teak wood, the water must also be filled. So usually the train will stop at Solo Kota Station for approximately 30 hours,” explained Pudjiono.

Seeing this long process, don’t be surprised if Jaladara’s rental rates are priced at Rp3.6 million per trip. However, this tariff is still relatively affordable, given the capacity of the train can accommodate 27 people.

Favorite of foreign tourists:

Since operating in 2009, the Jaladara steam train has attracted a lot of attention from foreign tourists. Most of them come from countries in Asia to Europe.

“There are so many who come from China, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, sometimes there are groups from Europe. They say they deliberately came to Solo because they wanted to try to ride the world’s oldest steam train,” Pudjiono said.

Furthermore, Pudjiono explained, the other positive impact of the operation of this steam train also boosted hotel occupancy in Solo. The length of stay or the duration of their stay or trip becomes longer.

Plus, there is a variety of entertainment that they can enjoy while on the train. In addition to enjoying the beauty of Solo, tourists will be served a variety of culinary specialties Solo, tasting herbal medicine carrying, and information from tour guides.

They will also be entertained by various attractions such as traditional dance to live acoustic music.

Everything is adjusted to the demand of tourists. The more entertainment, the higher the tariff,” said the 65-year-old man.

Explore the past:

Riding Jaladara is exploring the past. Purwosari Station which is the departure point is a historical building from Mangkunegara IV. The journey begins along the Purwosari village until it divides Jalan Slamet Riyadi through the Bengkong Rail (a curving rail).

From the top of Jaladara, tourists can watch various views of the city of Solo, before then stopping at Loji Gandrung. This ancient building has been functioned as the official residence of the Mayor, said to have been built by Jansen, a former company soldier who became a coffee boss in Java.

After being satisfied seeing the classic interior at Loji Gandrung, Jaladara moved east again past Sriwedari Park. This park was formerly known as Bon Raja, or a recreation, entertainment and resting place for relatives of the Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace.

Then proceed to Kampung Batik Kauman which is a place to get souvenirs typical of Solo. Here, tourists are also given the opportunity to see the process of making batik.

Sangkrah City Station is the last destination. The station, which was built in 1922 by NISM, was once the Kasunan Surakarta area.

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