Thursday, March 13, 2008
Cassandra Crossing (Panay)
As part of the '2007 Grand Family Tour' we ventured on down to a location in Roxas City called 'Cassandra Crossing'. Strange name I thought, but despite being a gunzel the name did not conjur up any feelings of railway type excitment.
Since my arrival earlier in the day I was unable to see anything remotely railway related and enquiries about the railway station were usually greeted with comments regarding the fact there was no trains.
Of course the anti-railway asawa didn't make to much of an effort to help - her main aims were family and shopping, while train related guff really was a pain in the rear to be avoided at all costs. Indeed if she could pay to eradicate railways from the face of the planet I am sure she would find the pera to do so.
Anyway as it was we boarded a trike (I fully recommend a ride on the back of these-bulk fun and less chance of fracturing your spine) for a run down to this Cassandra Crossing place. The trike driver gave me the 'no trains in Roxas' comment when asked where the former railway line was, but later pointed out the old formation (under structures) along, the not too surprisingly named, 'Railway Street'.
Another 5 minutes on and we arrived at 'Cassandra Crossing', a none too amazing looking place, but with a beautiful old building that I am told was a bank.
While the missus prattled on in Tagalog to friends in a local sari sari store, I decided to forgo the laughs after they mention my name and went over to get photos of the bank.
It was here I noticed a very familiar Xing logo on the local basketball court (see photo).
Hmmmm Cassandra Crossing and a drawing of a level crossing! Suddenly that sort of tingling arousal that affects all foamers started to take hold. This indeed needed further investigation, so promptly one went back to interrogate the wife regarding this little bit of information that seemed to be, well, OVERLOOKED.
One of the friends, who suddenly launched into English mode, then informed me that the store (photo) marked the very end of the Panay Railway in Roxas, with the run around point being right next to the basketball court and room for a loco beyond. Sadly the tracks were reported to have been removed within the six months prior to my visit.
How convenient that the wife seemed to have forgotten this LITTLE railway fact when we got there :-) Of course a short investigation was to commence, with plans for a far bigger one in 2009.
When you realise that its a former railway formation it actually becomes quite obvious. Shanties line both sides quite close (some small level of construction would now foul gauge) but the curves are obviously to railway standards.
The line ran on a rather huge curve towards the 'Railway St' crossing (headed in the direct of Iloilo) we earlier past, beyond this was the actual Roxas City station, the remains of which a used as some sort of hostel.
Beyond the shop there is all housing, however the lay of it certainly looks like the line may have continued on. I followed this a bit but saw no real evidence and a frantic asawa started calling me back.
The friends kept saying that the line only went here, but I am unsure if this is just since they have been there. It seems like a long way from the station to have the run around.
Anyway I returned to the hotel with a feeling of some, albeit limited, achievement. To date I have been unable to find any sort of Roxas City map that clearly shows where the railway went.
The end of the line, showing the sari sari store that would have served as a buffer stop for any errant train with faulty brakes, also quite conveniently located for any crew wishing to satisfy their hunger. Waving is the wife and to the right, in light blue, is the father-in-law, probably pondering the sanity of his westerner son-in-law who likes trains.
The other people, who knows, hard to remember the 200 people I met who just looked at you and never talked :-)
The other direction, looking towards Iloilo from the crossing itself.
The old bank that once looked over shunting trains, an interesting old structure that was later put to different use before becoming disused some time ago. Note the basketball court hoop with the telltale Xing symbol that made me curious as to the areas great secret.