Monday, March 24, 2008
Trust all readers had a terrific Easter period. We did the usual things that go with this event, visiting friends and family, the usual feasts and, for those stuck in Sydney, attended the Royal Easter Show.
Alas now the evil dark cloud that is work looms ahead, waiting to envelope one with the usual sad feeling of normality again.
Still every dollar (well peso) brings me a step closer to returning to the Philippines and seeing family and friends again. Despite the asawa believing my only reason for going is railway related.
Anyway, suppose I should terminate the rabbiting on and get to the post.
I have received some limited correspondence from the RIHSPI group regarding my recent Philippine Railway update and the comment on possible locomotive preservation outside of the Philippines. This later entry was meant to be more of a 'food for thought' type of entry designed to motivate.
Firstly I must apologise to the RIHSPI who believe I have given the impression that they are doing nothing.
As with anyone covering any subject, I can only report on the information I receive. I refuse to get to the journalistic level of inventing stuff for the sake of it :-)
I wish it to be known to all readers that the SIG supports all the efforts of this group and this is why we continue to include them in all reports, if for no other reason but to let the world know they are there.
I've in the past offered a way to raise money down here in Australia, so the support has, in the past, gone well beyond just written text on a blog site. I do encourage anyone who can spare some dollars/pesos/pounds/yen to help the guys out with their efforts, perhaps even identifying exactly where you want the money spent should you have a specific area of interest.
I recently made an offer to the president (is that the term used there?) of the group to put full details regarding where and how people could donate to the society on the SIG blogsite.
There was sadly no response, so I suggest emailing them direct for details on how to contribute money. If anyone finds out I would like to hear from you please.
I am indeed very happy to be able to report that members recently have held meetings with:
* Management of Hanjin (the company currently rebuilding the railway as part of the Linkage Project)
* The new manager of MRT7.
While the following events have also happened:
* Invitation to attend a Philippine railways history presentation.
* Group trip to Hondagua to inspect, amongst other things, the surviving observation car identified here on the SIG forum. (Apparently we can work in together :-) ).
These updates were given courtesy of Jaime from the RIHSPI. Many thanks for this mate.
We shall continue to report regularly on this, and other, exciting railway projects around the Philippines to the best of our ability. Any reports on any rail related project is very welcome for inclusion and your efforts will be acknowledged.
Best wishes to all
Monday, March 17, 2008
In the distance of the first shot you can just see the large block of units that is just south of Paco at the former junction for the line to Cavite.
Thanks for this very important update.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Amongst the various correspondence was an email making, VERY brief, reference to plans to ship a MRR diesel locomotive overseas for preservation. The locomotive itself was not identified, though I suspect this is for secrecy reasons, neither was the country.
The choices nowdays are really limited to only five existing models, of only three distinct designs.
Of these, the biggest concern would have to be #114 currently semi-preserved at Lapaz (Panay). Given she is the last surviver of her class and the only surviving Panay Railway locomotive left in the country, her being retained in the country should be considered vital for a preservation group there.
The other remaining classes still retain a number of examples and the loss of one will not be a huge blow, unless it was the one in the best condition. However 902 remains the only large radiator grilled version of the original Philippine U15C still in service and the oldest operational loco in the PNR fleet.
While I am more supportive of railway preservation of Philippine items in the Philippines (obviously), if the only way to get something saved is to send it overseas, then even I would have to admit that it would be better than nothing.
I am seeking more details at the current time, most especially in regards to their set up and if they are accepting financial donations should anyone wish to help them with their endeavour.
MRR/PNR diesel preservation over the years has been pathetic at best. So many wonderful examples of locomotive types, carriages, safeworking and structures have been lost or beyond much chance of repair.
The previously mentioned Panay #114 sits outside rusting alongside the former Lapaz station, although its windows and doors have been covered to prevent entrance. Little work appears to ever be done to prevent its deteriorating even more.
Apart from this locomotive and a few token examples of the steam era in various states of disrepair, the history of the railways there have been sold to scrappers.
So do we accept overseas purchases of Philippine railway history? Do we allow it to be removed from its home?
Sugar cane steamers have faired a bit better, especially when it comes to overseas preservation. It is quite possible more will end up going offshore as well.
Indeed their fate on Negros is either scrap or to rot in some display, where overseas they will likely steam again on one tourist or another.
I have said it in the past, however time is fast running out at the moment and there has been little reported by the newly formed IRHS other than a wish to use Paco station as a base. Rollingstock enquiries sadly go unanswered, although the earlier featured observation car is expected to be visited this month.
Another preservation group up north in San Fernando who are preserving the station have ignored enquiries regarding possibly preserving a locomotive and carriages there.
A few enquiries to PNR regarding preservation of a diesel in the spot vacated by a steam loco (Tutuban) some years ago have also been made, these, yep you guessed it, have gone ignored.
There are many people out in this wide world who would like to donate of time and money to help save some important parts of Philippine railway history before the opportunity is missed.
If some of this is done overseas, while disappointing, I hope people will still give it their full support. I will!
I'll pass on any details recieved on the proposed project, including that of the group (assuming it ain't a private venture) and where any donations of help can be directed.
For more up to date news, on any aspect of the Philippine railways, check out the SIG!
** Supporter Of Philippine Preservation In The Philippines **
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.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Trip reports on the railways of the Philippines are an all to infrequent occurance. We really appreciate John Middleton taking the time to share his recent trip with us.
Please feel free to add any additional information etc in the 'comments' section!
A short business trip to Manila over the period 19-23 January 2008 allowed a quick look at PNR operations which seem to be pretty much as previously reported (Continental Railway Journal 152).
There are two steam locomotives in faded plain black livery with PNR logo plinthed in reasonable external condition (although missing many parts, including all cab fittings) outside Manila station which seems to double as the PNR offices, there is also a chapel on the concourse ! The locos are;
DAGUPAN 0-6-0ST OC KS (a)
- 0-6-0T OC KS (b)
(a) No plates but previously reported as ex Manila Railway Kerr Stuart 1021/1907, originally named SANTO TOMAS, some parts are stamped 1007 which would actually make it CAVITE). This loco was formerly on display at Fort Santiago in Intramuros, the old Spanish city.
(b) Assumed to be ex Manila Railway CABANATUAN (KS 777 of 1905) although carries no identification
Shunting the station area was GE type U10B Bo-BoDE No. 5002. Coaching stock was a mixture of Japanese built de-motored diesel railcars and second hand coaching stock from JR East in Japan, trains appear to typically run as 4 coaches and are in very poor condition. Visible in the distance at the running shed were a further four locos but lack of time prevented further investigation.
Some 5.8 km to the north are Caloocan workshops, the line to the workshops is only used when there is a need to transfer locos or stock for repairs which appears to be rarely as the tracks were covered with people, stalls and makeshift homes although it does clearly see use which must cause havoc as everyone has to move out of the way. The workshops themselves are quite interesting with lots of old equipment. Access was freely granted, present were 21 locos in various stages of storage / dis-repair plus a number of coaches, little work seemed to be taking place although there were plenty of workers around. Locos seen were:
GE type U14C Co-CoDE: 906, 911, 913, 914
GE type U15C Co-CoDE: 903, 908 (the second loco to carry 908 reported as renumbered from 904), 920, 921
GE type U10B Bo-BoDE: 2510, 2515, 2518, 2535, 2538, 2539, 2540, 5001, 5003, 5004, 5006, 5008, 5010
Of these 908 is a derelict and stripped shell in the grass outside and 920 inside is missing its cab, all of the rest look relatively complete but very battered. Most were dusty and nothing looked as if it had moved recently. Staff said some locos had been scrapped during 2007 and these were probably some of the earlier 25xx series of U10B which were reported in March 2007 as written off (2504/22/28/36/37). Since PNR’s only income appears to come from the very limited suburban service on the line to the south, presumably the value of the scrap is some additional revenue.
Livery is mostly blue but 5010 is red, 903 and faded brick-red colour and 908 faded yellow.
Also at the works was the breakdown train mad up of former DMU cars (IC-888 + TA5 and Power Car MCBP 4). Other de-motored DMU cars and ex JR coaches were scattered around along with a derelict inspection car (Buda-22) and two derelict tampers and a crane.
The whole operation is incredibly ramshackle and rundown and clearly operates on the proverbial shoestring but everyone met was extremely friendly and access and photography freely allowed everywhere.
John Middleton1 February 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
This shot, taken on the 22nd of February 1986, is captioned as being at Binang. Not sure where that is, perhaps it is actually Binan (the current southern terminus).
Can anyone confirm?
The shot shows 911 on a southbound passenger service heading for Legazpi. It also shows some flatwagons in the background and a point indicator in the foreground.
A roundup of where things are at, information gained from personal emails, various forums and newspaper websites. Contributions are always very welcome.
** By early March a section of track (southbound at Paco) had been relaid and ballasted, the northbound line remained untouched.
The reason why this one little isolated section being done is unknown, however as Hanjin's worksite is reportedly here we can probably assume they are to work outwards for here in both directions.
No advice recieved on the proposed, and more logical, complete closedown of services for a proper rebuild. Perhaps they do not wish to cause the service interuption.
Phase I (Caloocan to Alabang) - Clearing Continues!
*** Trains operating between Tutuban-Alabang-San Pedro-Binan.
*** Services suspended Binan-Legaspi and San Pedro-Carmona.
Phase II (Alabang to Calamba)Southrail Project - Work yet to commence.
Phase IA (Calamba-Lucena)Phase IB (Lucena-Legaspi) - Work yet to commence.
Phase II (Sorsogon Extension Matnog) - Work yet to commence.
Calamba to Batangas line rebuild - Work yet to commence.
Rebuild continuing, no further advice on developments.
Caloocan to Malolos - Rebuild commenced full steam ahead January 2008.
Malolos to Clark - Rebuild commenced.
Cabanatuan Line - No advice.
Cagayan Valley - No advice.
*** There has yet to be movement in regards to anyone willing to finance this project.
Phase 1, 2nd Segment (Cagayan de Oro-Gingoog City)
Phase 1, 3rd Segment (Iligan-Marawi City)
Phase 1, 4th Segment (Marawi City-Cotabato City)
Phase II (Surigao-Butuan)
Phase III (Davao City-Monkayo)
Phase IV (Zamboaga City-Dipolog City)
Phase V (Gagayan de Oro-Davao City)
Apart from another site inspection of Paco no other advice forthcoming.
No information on attempts to preserve rollingstock has been received.
Thanks to Jaime and 'Wheels on Steel' for information contained in this update!