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.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Photos Are Copywrite. Please Ask Permission To Use Or Alter.

Image may contain: outdoor  Caloocan Workshops has seen it's fair share of historically important rollingstock over the years, but for this century, there has been none  more important than that PC-286 'Kalayaan'.

  Believed to have been built in Japan (can someone confirm the builder?), it was originally numbered PC-777.
 The 777 is apparently significant in that '7' was the favourite number of President Marcos. The same number was carried by the presidential bus, as seen here in a photo from Mark Chua's collection.

So why the number change?

Marcos was removed from power in February of 1986 (or 2/86) and it is believed the number change was made soon after. As such, it is unlikely that he would have ever been in the carriage under it's current designation.
'Kalayaan' is Filipino for 'Freedom', obviously also aimed at the fall of the former president. While the name is in official 'Philippine National Railways' computer records, I have not seen any evidence that the carriage has actually ever carried it.

Today the carriage resides in Caloocan Workshops, and has done so for all the 20 years I have been visiting there. Records say that it was in Manila Yard back in late 1988, but it is unlikely it was used post 1986.

Below are a selection of detail shots I took, with a view to building a model should measurements ever come forward.
Following those, I am indebted to my friend Mark Chua, who recently went and took some exclusive photos inside the carriage.
All thoughts of it being filled with money, jewels and the First Lady's shoe collection, have been well and truly dashed :-)

Overall view of the Presidential carriage, along with north wall of 
the main workshop building.

A huge thanks to Mark Chua for sharing these important 
internal photographs with us.

Thanks also to Ap Cal and John Tickvah.

Earn some extra Pesos for that Jollibee dinner. Timebucks.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Caloocan Workshops - Pt3

The third thrilling installment in our series celebrating the last 20 years of the famous Caloocan Workshops in Manila.

This traverser was built in Japan back in 1989, replacing one that was built in the United Kingdom back in 1908. I have been generously sent some photos of the earlier traverser, which I hope to include in a future installment.

Kogane 59 railcar while undergoing a extensive refurbishment.
This work has since been completed, with photos having appeared on this blog and our Facebook group.

The following images show the elevated office 
area of the workshops and views from same.

If you missed them, previous parts in this series 
can be found here.
Part 1

In coming weeks we shall work our way back towards 1999 and beyond.

Looking for a little bit of extra money for your train hobby, plane hobby, impressing women or treating yourself? Timebucks may be for you.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

In part 1 of this series, we had a look at the workshops just before Christmas in 2018.
In the second riveting installment, we look at 'Google Earth' aerial images showing the workshops from 2001 until now. 
We will then continue our most recent survey visit.
Coming in part 3 will be a final look at the workshops in 2018, before we start working our way back to 1999 (and maybe a little beyond).
Again, a huge thanks to the 'Philippine National Railways' for their immeasurable support over all the years.

In 2001 all roads north of the main shed were still intact, the railway workshops still extended east of the mainline, the lower level of Caloocan station was still largely intact and there was no sign of the future elevated expressway.

The mass scrapping of 2009 and 2010 had cleared much of the tracks north of the main building, and sadly eradicated a few carriage classes. Some removal of structures had occurred east of the mainline, but most remained intact, including the historic Caloocan station.

Today it is a vastly different story.
Apart from the historic Higgins Hall, and some walls of the original Caloocan Station, all structures east of the mainline have been removed for use by the company constructing the elevated expressway (also visible).
All the yard north of the main workshop has been removed and in use for construction activity as well. Access to the workshop is now by a single road from the mainline, along the side of the main workshop and onto the traverser (seen between the two main sheds). 

The former Japanese EMU car is seen on the earlier mentioned access road for the workshops. The traverser is seen at far left.

902 and 913 were in the smaller workshop for rebuild.
They would soon be taken down to Desco Engineering (Binan, Laguna) for this work to be completed. We were lucky enough to be invited to inspect this work, but are unable to cover it until after the work is completed.

A smaller workshop, the purpose of which is unknown. It does not 
look to be currently used.

920 has been heavily stripped follow an accident that bent her frame.

52-123 has also been stripped of parts and is now considered to be 'Beyond Economical Repair (BER). Her, and 920 above, will likely be scrapped when the workshops are demolished, if not beforehand.

911 still wears her pre-Filtrack dark blue with red livery. However, she has not run for some time and reports indicate that her future is not bright
We are currently in the early stages of publishing a guide to the various 900 class liveries and variations, for modellers and people with a general interest in the class.

See Part 1 in our Caloocan series.

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Check out our Facebook group.
Or follow us on Twitter. @PhilippineRail1

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


The railway workshops in Caloocan is believed to have been built around the 1910s, or 1920s, with a refurbishment in 1989 (reopening in 1990). This refurbishment is thought to be mostly external, with signs of the original structure, most notably the round windows,  still being visible.

Image result for Caloocan locomotive workshop
Photographer Unknown - From Defunct RIHSPI Group.

I first went to the workshops during a visit to Manila in 1999. At the time, my main interest was still in the locomotives, the obsession with Philippine rollingstock, and infrastructure coming in later visits. Each time I have returned to the country, I have made an effort to drop in and record what is there.
Late in 2018, I was made aware that the whole workshop complex was to be redeveloped for use as car stabling siding related to the new north line (currently being built), with the workshop being transfer somewhere south of Manila.
It was this news that spurred me on to, not only get as many last shots as possible, but to do this multi-part article covering the workshops over the last two decades.

The inspiration for this project, which will likely run over the next few months, is with immeasurable thanks (maraming salamat) to 'Philippine National Railways' General Manager, Sir Jun Magno. Mr Magno inspires with both a passion for the future, and for the heritage, of the local railways.
Thanks also go to the many members of PNR management and staff who have helped me over the years.

In coming parts, we shall look at the workshops, locomotives and rollingstock, listings and other items related to the workshop.

Can You Help?
We are seeking photos, notes and documents related to the Caloocan Workshops for adding in this project.
Did you work at Caloocan? Were you a visitor to the workshops?
Please email us, we would love to hear from you.

Kogane was undergoing an extensive refurbishment and would be released in the newest livery, along with a new glass that would allow the wire grills to become a thing of the past.

Probably the most important car in the workshop would be PC-286, President Marcos's 'Presidential Car'. Originally numbered 777, the 286 number reflects the date he was removed from power.
Today the car remains locked up, but internally it is empty. To date, not photos of the car in use have been found.

Machine Shop - January 26th 1972

TA-5, by this time she was the last survivor of her class.

Like the author, these were Australian made. :-)
Thanks to Dirk Paul Celoso, Mark Chua and Sir Jun Magno (PNR GM).