Friday, March 20, 2015

Trace Back The Semarang City Tram History

The participant of Lopen Semarang events "Telusur Jalur Trem" taking photo together in front of former head office of Semarang Joana Stoomtram Maatschappij (SJS) in Pengapon, Semarang. Behind this building once are existed the main SJS werkplaats (eng: workshop), but now is already un-used and abandoned. (photos by: Adityo Cahyo)
Semarang, in the late of 19th century was growth into one’s of the important city in Dutch-Indies, a main port city with trade and services based. The people soon comes into this city, wishing  to get the better job and welfare. This urbanization flow makes Semarang density were increasing from time to time, thus a better city transportation were urgently needed. This challenge were answered by NV. Semarang Joana Stoomtram Maatschappij (SJS), a steam tram operator company that got the concession from the colonial government to served the needs of public transportation in the city of Semarang until Juwana. The president of SJS, Mr. H. M. A. Baron van Der Goes van Dirxland got this concession via Besluit van den Gouverneur-Generaal No.5 dated March 18th 1881. Soon, the historical moment came on December 1st 1881 when its inaugurated the first line of the city tram service between Jurnatan Station until Jomblang Station.

The map depicted the city tram lines in Semarang
on 1913. (source: Leiden University Library)
This first line extending along 4.4 KM from through the Mataram Weg (Now Jalan MT. Haryono). The citizen of Semarang were amused to this new kind of transportation technology. But new technology always broght a funny stories at the beginning. Liem Thian Joe, a famous journalist wrotes that the natives and the Chinese are believed that this kind of vehicle were moved by intangible creatures, and it needs a human sacrifice. Thus, they never let their kids going outside in the evening, afraid of they’ll be taken by the creatures. But soon this rumours were disappeared together with the important role of this means. On March 3rd 1883 its inaugurated the two new lines, there are Jurnatan Station until Bulu Station, through the Aloon-Aloon (City Square) and Bodjong Weg (Now Jalan Pemuda), also from Jurnatan Station until Samarang NIS Station, the major railway station at that time that also the first railway station in Dutch-Indies, later Indonesia.  Then on July 2nd 1883 its inaugurated the line from Jurnatan Station until the new harbor, and the last is on November 4th 1899 when its inaugurated the line between Bulu Station until Bandjir Kanaal West Station, through Boeloe Weg (Now Jalan Mgr. Soegijopranoto). Besides the station, this tram line were served by several stopplats (eng: Tram Stop) there are in Kemijen, Aloen-Aloen Semarang, Bodjong, Karangturi and Bangkong.

The tram services in Semarang city by SJS were using the B12 series locomotives, produced by NV. Werkspoor from Netherlands and also the same type produced by Beyer-Peacock, England. This locomotief have classification as 0-4-0 locomotives, which 0-4-0 represents one of the simplest possible types, that with two axles and four coupled wheels, all of which are driven. The rail used the 1067 mm gauge, common gauge for Indonesian Railways, and above it the tram could reach its maximum speed of 25 km/hours. One’s of the B12 series locomotive now is preserved as a monument, in front of Pasar Turi Station, Surabaya.

The Djomblang Station on 1915. Its also depicted on the picture
the B12 locomotives series by NV. Werkspoor, Netherlands.
(source: Leiden University Library)
Hmmm, why its in Surabaya? Well the stories goes on. The development of the city tram in Semarang were not as good as in the other city like Batavia (Jakarta) and Surabaya, which also electrified in the beginning of 20th century. The city tram development in Semarang were getting stucks, its still using the steam power that needs the teak wood, which is the price are expensive, as its firing. Then on the 1940, the Gemeenteraad (eng: City Council) of Semarang decided to closed the city tram operation. Its gained a mass protest among the Semarang citizen but the policy are goes on. Then the locomotives and the trains that once used to serviced the city tram in Semarang, were moved into the Surabaya. That’s why now, one’s of them are preserved in Pasar Turi station, Surabaya.