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.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

See you in 2008!

Thanks to all the contributers to the Philippine Railways SIG website, blog and forums.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mindanao LRT!

Exciting times in Mindanao.


Manila LRT enroute to Baclaran during October 2007. Jeffrey

(Philippine Railways SIG)


A memorandum of agreement on the proposed Davao LRT has been signed by the Mindanao Business Council, Davao Integrated Development Council, MCC Capital Inc (A financial institution based in the UK) and local government areas in the Davao region.

It is expected that the new LRT system will serve built up areas of the coastline at Davao City, as well as Davao delSur and Davao del Norte. The system will ultimately be 60 kilometres in length and be a 'build, operate, transfer' type project.

Gradually Turning Pinoy!

I am often told this by all the Pinay lovelies I regularly hang out with.

Quite the honour really, and helped along greatly by my recent flirt with disaster, trying a balut. Yep managed to keep it down and thus make half my asawa's family sick in the process (they are mostly turned off by the thought of this delicacy).

One of my new years resolutions this year is to learn Mahjong, a game very commonly played in Australia by the Philo population and one that, until now, has quite frankly baffled me. To be honest, after a few hours lessons last night I am still in a bit of a cloud and suffering from severe thinkers headache.

However one is determined, I will learn it gradually. Afterall, just photographing PNR is not getting me to far through my 'Becoming Filipino Course' is it :-)


PNR's Grand Ol Lady!

So what is the oldest 'Philippine National Railway (or predecessor) locomotive still in operation today?

The oldest locomotive still in existence would be a title of honour to the semi preserved 114 (ex 107, ex 3502) sitting at Lapaz station on the former Panay Railway, however this locomotive has not run for quite some years. Built in Japan as one unit in a class of four during 1963.

Next oldest locomotive type is the 2500 class, the first lot of which, 2501-13, were built in 1965. While some of these still exist, all are out of service at Caloocan, officially 'awaiting repair' but really excess to need.

This leaves 902 as the oldest operational locomotive still seeing regular daily use in the Philippines, either shunting the yard around Tayuman and Tutuban, or doing a occasional shuttle to Alabang, San Pedro or Binan.

Built by General Electric as their #39239 in 1973, she was one of five members of the first U15C type to work there. This particular type stand out from their near identical U14C and later U15C sisters due to a larger radiator grill area to the rear of the locomotive.

Of her sisters:

901: Scrapped

903: Heavily stripped, still in red livery.

904: Believed to be the now heavily stripped 908 at Caloocan. Large radiator seems to help confirm this.

905: Scrapped

Despite her years of service in this harsh environment, she still looked in quite good condition, externally at least.

Surely she would have to be a prime contender for preservation, as the only operational member of her class. Only a major fault would warrant replacing her with 903.

Heres hoping she somehow weathers the modernisation and finds a job in the new railway system.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Narrow Gauge Downunder - Philippine Article!

Issue #28 of Australias 'Narrow Gauge Downunder' magazine has an article on the Philippine National Railways by Brad Peadon (owner of this blog site).
The article looks at the situation there as of March this year, just prior to the commencement of clearing operations.
If your interested in purchasing a back issue feel free to check out the Narrow Gauge Downunder website. Apart from the Philippines, the issue is full of other interesting narrow gauge topics from Australia and elsewhere. It is always well worth a read - numerous times.
NOTE: The cover shown is issue #27.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Philippine RailwayUpdate: December 2007!

The latest fleet update can be found on the 'Philippine Railways SIG' website.

Changes reflecting recent visits and clearing updates.


** Photo of 5007 by Rob Porter.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Goodbye Lake Paco!

According to 'Philippine Railways SIG' member Jaime, Hanjin has recently started leveling the ground to the left side of Paco station.
The area is to be used as their compound during the Southrail rehabilitation project.
One fallout from this work will be the disappearance of the now infamous Lake Paco, a largish body of water covering the tracks in the vicinity of the station.
The photo above, taken during a group trip from Tutuban to Alabang in February, shows Lake Paco in all her glory.

(With thanks to Jaime)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ICTSI Locomotive 'Down Under'

One of this years interesting locomotive highlights has been the sale of ICTSI #1 to 'Coote Industrial' (trading railway wise as South Spur) in Australia.
To date the unit has not entered traffic. Where it will actually be used is still a mystery.
There has been a couple of shots of the loco since arrival, but here is a few recent ones appearing on Flika.
Unsure what the photographers real name is, but one of the shots appears here with the rest at the URL above.


Sunday, December 16, 2007



While this blog is a brand new section of the 'Philippine Railways SIG' website, we are already enjoying regular visitors dropping by.

I have long wanted to have a regularly updated news, photos, historical and views section as part of the SIGs activities and a recent experimentation with a blog site revealed this as the perfect way to achieve it.

2007 has been a great year for the SIGs 'PhilippineRailways' chat form with a membership that continues to grow despite much tension caused by a member in the last quarter. Regardless of net gerbils, we went on to have the biggest month since starting back in 1999. A truly great efort, highlighting the great interest there is in that wonderful country and its railways.

We thank you for joining us and invite you to contribute any photos, scans of historical documents/tickets, chat on the forum and anything else you think may be of interest. Your help will ensure both this blog and the SIG website will be able to continue promoting interest in the railways of the Philippines and preserving their history.

Please email us philippinerailwayhistorical @ yahoo. com. ph (remove spaces).

Thanks again, have a great festive season and look forward to seeing you back here in 2008.



Northrail Right On Track!

Arsenio M. Bartolome III, President and Chief Executive of North Luzon Railways Corporation (Northrail), disclosed at a recent Rotary Club gathering, that the project was commenced last month and was now on track.
He asked for public support towards the project, which would employ hundreds of Filipinos and benefit thousands more through fast travel times and relieving traffic congestion.
There is four phases to the project, all of which will utilize the long closed 'Philippine National Railways' northern line to San Fernando, La Union.
* Phase 1 from Caloocan to Clark Field, Pampanga (Construction Commenced)
* Phase 2 from Clark Field to Subic Bay
* Phase 3 from Caloocan to Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
* Phase 4 from Clark Field, Pampanga to San Fernando, La Union.
It is planned that trains will initially start running as far as Malolos in 2010 utilizing 19 DMU sets. The balance of phase 1 is then expected to be operational by 2011, utilizing a further 23 vehicles.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The John Holland 1620s!

As part of their contract to rebuild the south line to Legazpi, John Holland of Australia purchased a few English Electric 1620 class of Queensland Rail in Australia.

During their early days in the country they were joined by Graham Hooper who has kindly sent in some photos taken his brief time there. The one here shows 1621 arriving at Tayuman on the back of a truck prior to first touching foot (wheel?) on PNR metals.

A second shot appears on the now updated John Holland' page of the 'Philippine Railway SIG' website and we hope to include more of Grahm's shots int he future.

So whats the status of the 1620s that called the Philippines home? The following lists their status today.

Unit Model Build# Date Built

1621 RS95C A-139 1.1967
Believed stripped of parts for 1644 and 1653.
1625 RS95C A-147 2.1967
Scrapped by February 2007.
1631 RS95C A-144 5.1967
Scrapped by February 2007.
1636 RS95C A-157 9.1967
Scrapped by February 2007.
1644 RS95C A-180 9.1968
Malaysia (2004), expected to return to Thailand by May 2005. (Dec 2004)
1646 RS95C A-184 11.1968
Scrapped by February 2007.
1648 RS95C A-190 1.1969
Scrapped by February 2007.

1653 RS95C A-199 5.1969
Malaysia (2004), expected to return to Thailand by May 2005. (Dec 2004)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Railways and Industrial Heritage Society Website!

The new R&IHS has recently launched their new website which outlines the group, its goals, membership details and will regularly give news updates covering their achievements.
The site also appears to be going to include historic articles which should be of great interest to many.
Email addresses exist on the site for membership enquiries, although no details of costs/newsletters have yet been published. However this will no doubt be done in coming days.


Also linked to the sight is the 'Reese Blog' which appears to be a site devoted to current news events like this one.

Check them out!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Philippines And Spain To Build A Railway!

Spain is to spend US$340 million in a railway system, as well as a wind and power venture in the Philippines.
The announcement, made by Philippine Ambassador to Spain, Joseph Bernardo, does not outline where the railway portion of the investment would be made.
The finance would be an extention of pre-existing financial package.

Lubricated Flange Australasian Railway E-Zine!

Philippine Railway Preservation: Is Time Running Out?

Is time fast running out for achieving the goals of starting an operating railway museum, has the time long past already?

It is an interesting question. Many very wonderful pieces of rollingstock and lineside equipment have long gone from the railways of the Philippine National Railways and its predecessors.

There once existed a huge variety of steam/diesel locomotives and rollingstock, some incredible designs that just begged to be looked at. Today there are really only a handful of rotting steam locomotives left in various states of disrepair and three designs of diesel locomotive.

On the rollingstock front, incredibly, we fair a lot better. There are still numerous types of passenger vehicle in existence, although it would be fair to say that some, 7E a particular example, that are beyond economical repair and are teetering on the edge of oblivion.

Plenty of other exciting carriages still exist, amongst them PC2-86 (or Kalayan) car, the former presidential car once used by Marcos and the last few operational DMUs.

Freight stock also continues to have a large selection of preservable examples and it is amongst these that possibly one of the more important examples of preservable rollingstock exists.

What is likely the last fixed wheelbased freight vehicle (a small tank wagon exists at Caloocan, but it is doubtful this was used outside the workshop) existing in the Philippines resides off the track in the centre of the huge Tayuman/Tutuban yard.

At last report the demolision crew had arrived at Tayuman station and, as reported below, destroyed the old station. Other reports earlier in the year had said that the whole system was to close before the end of 2007 so formations/trackwork could be completely rebuilt.

While the closure has not yet occured, it must be close. Bringing with it will be the total end of need for all current stock, except possibly for works trains, and see items like this lone remaining boxcar just thrown away as being in the way of progress.

I have certainly made mention of this important relic to the new railway preservation group there but to date have recieved no reply on the subject of movement to ensure its safety. Perhaps if other readers start making their voices heard about it to the powers that be in the group they may listen.

Sadly my concerns regarding a very old small concrete 'ENGINE STOP' sign at Blumentritt went unnoticed and it is likely it has been trashed and gone forever. Lets hope the same fate does not await this boxcar, a wonderful link to the past years of the Philippine railways.

I feel there is still time, but time if fast running out. We are not talking years here, we are talking only months.
While much is gone, intense researching will help locate photographs, documents, perhaps even movie footage, that could help fill in the gaps. Train-simulator technology nowdays means that you can even recreate driving an old MRR steamer through Tarlac.
The project has a long way to go, they know it wont be easy, but they have the capability should they restrain the political gerbil, rebuild bridges and get on with the job.

I wish them well.

Unite for the Philippine railway hobby, together we can make it great.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Thanks to all two people who have contacted me about the future of this website and the 'Philippine Railways SIG'.

One comment really gave me some inspiration to get past the bollocks of recent times and continue on with what I have been doing. While 2 out of all recorded visitors is not much, one has to imagine there must have been some appreciation from the non-members of the SIG and publications that have asked for help with enquiries over the years.

This will of course be an endless thing and why should future people with an interest be denied access to information.

To the two people who cared enough to reply, thanks for making it seem worthwhile.

Back to normal programing of news, photos and thoughts.


Casualty Of Progress!

Tayuman station,situated on the road of the same name, marked the commencement of the extensive PNR yards approaching the once grand Tutuban railway station.

For a short while it even served as the main starting point for all trains headed south from Manila until a replacement, and somewhat dreary, Tutuban station was built to replace the beautiful original that is now a shopping mall.

The Tayuman station buildings were far from magnificent, a small ticket office and a open waiting area devoid of most expected conveniences. It was however a regular location to visit and the staff always friendly and helpful in the true Filipino way.

Upstairs was a narrow line of offices used by a number of PNR officials. One had to be sure to be out of their view when photographing, lest the wish to endure an extended interogation as to your reasons for wanting to take photos of their railways.

My most recent encounter with these managers was probably the most amusing. A rather serious looking chap comes down and demands I tell him what I am doing. After replying, he then asked if I had permission. I simply said 'yes' and he accepted this :-)

Recently the demo team moved in and removed all trace of this once important station from the face of the earth. Photos showing little more than an empty patch of dirt brought some sadness that change had caused this, but then without such sacrifice perhaps in another few years there would have been no more PNR to see.

Here are a few photos of Tayuman in her final months, both taken during February this year. Seen also in the photos are SIG members and good friends Bill (a fellow Aussie), Karel and Cesar.

All other Manila stations will suffer a similar fate as modernization replaces lovely old PNR designs with, apparently, more functional and interesting ones.

Thankfully we can remember them all in photos.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Change Of Page Name and The Future!

Observant readers will have noticed a change in name for this news and history page.
While my 'Philippine Railways SIG' started the ideas of the 'Philippine Railways Historical Society' the new museum group starting in the Philippines have requested I don't use it anymore.
Out of respect for the president of that group, and given he is one of the few in the association that actually shows much for me, I have complied and changed the name.
This is an interim measure as I am wanting to close down both this blog and the entire Philippine Railways SIG. I am, however, giving it a 2 week cooling off period to make sure this is what is best. It is certainly not easy to rebuild 9 years of work should I change my mind later.
It certainly has been fun. I have learn't much and have made many new friends and some who I thought were. I used to enjoy the Philippines and was always in trouble off the asawa for planning the next trip before returning from the current one :-)
While it may be seen, indeed the comment was made yesterday, that I am just giving up to easily. It will allow me to concentrate on other areas and devote my time and money to them. Fiji is one area of great interest nowdays.
The railfan hobby has long been scattered with many people with little respect for anyone except themselves. We all run into one of them from time to time, sadly it was my time for ONE particularly bad example.
For now the PhilippineRailways Yahoogroup will continue to exist.

Thank you for your support of the Philippine Railways SIG over the years. I will update on decisions shortly.
Please throw your support behind the new museum project. No matter who sits on the board, the project is worthy of support of every Filipino.

Best wishes and early Merry Xmas