It is with much regret I have to announce the passing of another important member of the Philippine railway hobby.
Late June saw the passing away of Graham Holt (United Kingdom) from a heart attack. Graham was the foremost researcher of Philippine railway topics, both mainline and also the less known industrial railways that once covered a lot of the country.
Graham first joined the PRHS (then Philippine Railways SIG) Yahoogroup on November 4th 2000 (only a few months after we made the move from Egroups).
His first posting to the group coming on December 7th.
“Greetings to all fellow members of the "World Railways" eGroup.
I thought I was joining the Philippine Railways eGroup when my membership was accepted about four weeks ago.
I have been trying to work my way through all the posted messages before taking part.
I accepted that there would be diversions getting to know each other,
such as Naval and Army references which all contribute to the picture
and even accept all the talk of adobo and balut. Many more food and
drink items could be included.
I was amazed by the naiveté of some of the messages. Obviously
many members have not visited the Philippines or only been to Manila. The
thought of trying to follow abandoned branch lines fighting off deadly snakes in the malaria carrying mosquito infested jungle of Pampanga Province is surely a joke.
This part of Luzon, before Pinatubo, was almost totally cultivated and any abandoned branch lines would have either been incorporated into rights of way or returned to agriculture. I don't know what it is like now.
The group is in its infancy and as membership grows it will become totally unmanageable if it does not have some restriction on its
scope and content.
This brings me to the point. Why has it been deemed necessary to encompass Australasia and beyond.
This group should be exclusively for Philippine Railways and associated subjects.
Those who want an Australasian (or World) eGroup should form another
group and then at least one member can take his group membership to over thirty groups.
I will introduce myself properly in my next message.
Following an initial debate over group content, Graham went on to be a valued and regular contributor of news and information to the group.
Graham spent over 30 years intensively researching the various railways of the Philippines, amassing a large amount of information and photos on the topic, with a plan to one day write a book.
Although I don’t believe the book started, he did make a start on a website. http://www.philippinerailways.com
A few years ago I had the pleasure of a visit from Graham and his lovely wife Terry while they were in Sydney. Along with my dear departed friend Bill Sullivan, we spent the night eating and discussion all manner of Philippine railway topics.
The one thing I noticed during the visit was that the Graham in real life was far different to the one I knew online.
Graham was certainly a man who took the hobby seriously. He did not tolerate much fooling around and, as such, we occasionally locked horns when my unusual style of Aussie humour came to the fore.
But despite these times, he was always there to help with a question or a photo when the need arises and it was always great when I could return the favour, not that there was that many occasions in which I had information he needed.
He was an avid collector of Philippine railway items on Ebay, beating me on a number of occasions to a prized item J
Sadly Graham made his last posting to the group on June 21st this year, passing away two days later.
“Re: [PhilippineRailways] Re: 'Bicol Express' soon to regain supremacy in Bicol-Manila public transport services
Surely it is part of the fun of rail travel in places like the Philippines to travel with the local population, not in a sterile box, sorry "executive sleeper".
You can say you have covered the track but not had the "experience".
Indeed Graham had many great railway experiences in his life, these leading to information that has benefited us all.
His experience and knowledge will leave yet another huge hole in the Philippine railway hobby, especially where historical research is concerned.
It is hoped that his collection will enter the archive of a suitable international railway society based in the United Kingdom.
Graham leaves behind his beloved wife Teresita and family Valentina, Maria, Chris, Hollie and Ryan.
RIP Graham Holt
2-4-1943 – 23-6-2011
Brad Peadon (Philippine Railway Historical Society)
Thanks to Graham the PRHS has built a huge database of Philippine railway news, photos and information. Membership is free and available to anyone HERE!