Welcome one and all to the 'Philippine Railway Historical Society' blogsite. This site was set up to share photos, historical pieces, comment and virtually anything else pertaining to transportation in the Philippines, with a special emphasis on rail. Occasional we vary from topic, but this is the less serious side of the hobby shining through - cause sometimes, in this miserable and uptight world, we just take ourselves a little too seriously.

If you have a question Philippine railway related, just drop us a line, maybe we can help.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

MAY 2017 - VERSION 3

Corrections and additions always welcome.

Compiled by Brad Peadon for the 'Philippine Railway Historical Society'
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Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Friday, April 7, 2017


MANILA SUNSET has proudly supported the 'Philippine Railway Historical Society' for nearly seven years.. But now the owners have put it up for sale.

Cheap rent and over a decades service to Narwee (Sydney) and surrounding suburbs.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Take a train check

By: Conrado Banal 
March 20, 2017

This one just in: Two gigantic Japanese conglomerates, the so-called zaibatsu, agreed to lend their technical expertise to a critical railway project in Metro Manila.

That would be the Tutuban-Calamba freight train project of the state-owned Philippine National Railways (PNR), owner of the oldest rails this side of Benham Rise.

Its neglected railways

 between La Union province and the Bicol region, passing through Metro Manila, started operations way back in the 1900s.

The tracks between Metro Manila and Calamba (Laguna) happened to be part of the incredible P170-billion infrastructure dream project called the North-South Railway.

The government originally set the bidding for the project in 2015. The bidding never took place. The dream project remained just that—a dream.

And so one group called MRail Inc. submitted an unsolicited proposal to the government, willing to spend a fortune for the rehab of the Tutuban-Calamba tracks. The PNR, in return, will let it use the tracks.

In other words, there will be no cash out from the government.

Specifically, MRail proposed to use the line for freight cargos coming from the Manila port, and the PNR could then use the same line for commuter service.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) actually saw the Tutuban-Calamba railroad rehab project as one of the low hanging fruits in a huge forest of infra projects that the administration of the motorbike riding Duterte Harley dreamt of, particularly in its P8-trillion “golden age of infra” program.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade himself approved the proposal.

It was seen to provide another mode of transport for the millions of tons of containerized cargoes passing through the Manila port. The daily trips of these huge trucks loaded with containers could be part of the terrible traffic affecting the metropolis day in and day out.

Put the containers on trains, according to the wisdom of Tugade, and you could alleviate the horrendous traffic mess.

Moreover, the rehab proposal would jump-start the bigger project, the North-South Railway, which covers some 653 kilometers of tracks between Metro Manila and the Bicol region.

Technical studies already showed that the tracks would need extensive rehab, and the entire project needing dozens upon dozens of new roads and bridges.

The bidding that was originally scheduled for 2015, the one that did not materialize, tickled the financial bones of some 14 local conglomerates such as Aboitiz, San Miguel and Metro Pacific. It also attracted giant groups abroad like Japanese firms Marubeni and Mitsui, US firm General Electric, and South Korea’s Daewoo.
Unfortunately, the project is already delayed by almost three years. Included in it, as I mentioned, is the 56-kilometer commuter line between Tutuban and Calamba.

When Tugade approved the rehab project of MRail, the business sector took it as a sign of “political will” on the part of the Duterte administration.

But not so fast! The project remains on the drawing board, because the PNR and the DOTr took a rain check.

The PNR board has yet to complete the signatures of its members for the “approved” project. The DOTr technical staff is also taking forever to come up with the conditions.

Yet, Tugade already announced that the project would have a “soft opening” within one freaking year.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila remains to coddle the worst traffic in the world, according to traffic planning app Waze.

While big ticket projects like the Tutuban-Calamba railway rehab would always get the media hype, reports rarely note that such large projects would take time to carry out—a long, long time.

The donors from abroad, for instance, would have to evaluate the projects, normally between 12 and 24 months. The detailed design and engineering would then need another 12 to 24 months, while the final financial closing would take 24 to 36 months.

More than eight months now in power, the Duterte administration could still not show some spadework in its P8-trillion “golden age of infra” program.

Before any of the projects could be finished, Duterte Harley would already be on his way out.

Source: Inquirer Newspaper

Monday, April 3, 2017


Also among the top five recipients of national government subsidies last January 2017 were state-run pension fund Social Security System (P194 million), Philippine Children’s Medical Center (P62 million), Philippine National Railways (P43 million) and Center for International 
Trade Expositions and Missions (P35 million).

Source: The Inquirer.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A NEW 901

  This shot of 901 is believed to have been taken in Montreal (Canada) prior to the locomotive being delivered to the PNR.
  This green and yellow livery was first introduced by the Manila Railroad with dieselization in the system. The livery still survives on the semi preserved 3500 #114, semi preserved at Iloilo (Panay Island)

Photo taken by Dirk Paul Celoso and shared via Mark Chua.

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Friday, March 17, 2017



Stay Tuned

In coming weeks we will cover all the transport related photos from last weeks trip to the Philippines.

A trip report is also in the making and will appear on our official website in the near future.

It is great to be back. They worked hard to destroy me...but it failed. :-)

For more photos, those other than just Philippine transport related ones, feel free to check out my Semi-Retired Foamer website.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Interested in being part of the Philippine's longest running railfan interest group?

Started in 1999, we have proven that 'being official' does not necessarily 
mean you will survive.

Below are Facebook groups we currently run.

Philippine Railway Historical Society

Philippine Transportation

Philippine / Australia Aviation Fans (formerly FILDAC-A)

Plus you can also find us as PhilippineRailways on Yahoogroups.
A huge database of historical Philippine rail info.

Bicol Express at Pasay Road station.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016


  The Bicol Express has been an on again, off again, service for as long as I have been going to the Philippines.
  However, after a break of some years following an accident, the following article suggests that it is to again make a comeback.
  Heres hoping it lasts longer this time round.

Train ride to Bicol ‘bumpy’
By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Juan Escandor Jr., Maricar Cinco - 
@inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 12:24 AM November 19, 2016

NAGA CITY—It was not a smooth ride for the inspection run of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) train that would ply the Manila-Naga City route by Dec. 15.

The inspection train, made up of three coaches, left the Tutuban station in Manila at 5:15 a.m. on Friday, carrying PNR officials led by Joseline Geronimo, PNR officer in charge. The team had set out to reach Naga City in Camarines Sur province by nightfall Friday.

But it was a slow ride as informal settlers, wet market vendors, trees and sections of houses along the PNR track blocked the route in Laguna province.

Geronimo said the inspection was smooth until the train reached the Mamatid station in Cabuyao City, also in Laguna.

“After Mamatid, there were some interactions, encroachments by informal settlers [near the rail tracks],” Geronimo said.

The train had to stop at some point as PNR personnel remove debris, tree branches and trunks blocking the track or clear canopies of some houses.

In Calamba City, “talipapa” (village wet market) vendors were asked to move out for the train to pass through.

“We’ve fixed this issue (informal settlers) before but they just keep coming back. It’s one of the things we need to ask help from our local governments,” Geronimo said.

“Like in Candelaria (town in Quezon province), nakiraan pa kami (We had to ask permission to pass through). In Los BaƱos (town in Laguna), the coaches [hit the ground] in some elevated portions,” she said.

The train reached Lucena City at 11:30 a.m., stopping at the abandoned station. The PNR’s safety steel bar at the railroad crossing near the station and warning lights were broken.

As of 5 p.m. on Friday, the train was in Tagkawayan town in Quezon. It was expected to reach Ragay town in Camarines Sur at 6:30 p.m.

A portion of the railway bridge in Ragay that connects the villages of Apali and Apad is undergoing repairs, after it collapsed when a flash flood washed out one of its support foundations in March this year.

Geronimo said the inspection team would alight from the coaches in Ragay and transfer to another train to bring them to Naga City.

Ricarte Galopa, PNR security chief, said team members did not note any major safety issue along the route in Laguna and Quezon provinces.


“After the test run, an assessment meeting will immediately follow to discuss some critical areas along the Manila-Bicol route, particularly the conditions of the bridges,” Geronimo said.

Geronimo said she would invite officials from local governments along the route to help the PNR solve local problems, particularly the clearing of houses along the tracks.