Panay Railways

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Panay Railways Inc.
Philippine Railway Company Inc
Industry Railroad
Predecessor Philippine Railway Company Incorporated
Founded Hartford, Connecticut, USA (March 5, 1906 (1906-03-05))
Headquarters Iloilo City, Philippines
Area served
Owner Government of the Philippines
Parent Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation

Panay Railways Inc. is a government-owned and controlled corporation of the Philippines headquartered in La Paz, Iloilo City, the Philippines, on the island of Panay. It is a subsidiary of Phividec Railways Inc. of the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation (Philvedec).[1] The railway current doesn't operate any trains but it leases the property that it owns and the revenue is used to defray the personnel and administrative costs incurred from looking after its assets.[2]

The company has been owned in succession by the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation which became the Development Bank of the Philippines (1945–74), and then it was sold to the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation (Philvedec) (1974–79)[2][3] In 1979, management and operations were transferred to the Philippine Sugar Commission (Philsucom) which changed the company's name to the current Panay Railways, Inc.[2][4] On September 26, 1995, PHIVIDEC re-took ownership of Panay Railways from the Sugar Regulatory Administration, Philsucom's successor.[2] As of March 2016, the president and general manager of the railroad was John Catalan.[5]


In December 1905, a syndicate composed of William Salomon and Company, the International Banking Corporation, Heidelbach, Ickelheimer and Company, Cornelius Vanderbilt III, Charles M. Swift, H. R. Wilson, and J. G. White and Company was the sole bidder for the right to construct railroads on Cebu, Panay and Negros.[6] In 1906, the syndicate was awarded the concession and the Philippine Railway Company Inc. was incorporated in the state of Connecticut, United States on March 5, 1906.[3] On May 28, 1906, the Philippine government formally passed an act granting the company the concession.[6][7]

The company became part of a "Manila syndicate", a collection of Philippine infrastructure companies including the Manila Electric Railway and Light Company, the Manila Construction Company, and the Manila Suburban Railways Company.[8] Later the Philippine Railways Construction Company was added.[8]

Construction began on a railroad from Iloilo City to Roxas City in Capiz with crews working from both cities and meeting in the middle in 1907.[3] Crews working from the north and south met at the railway track's highest elevation in a flag stop near Passi's border with Dumarao, later called Summit.[citation needed] Operations began immediately upon completion.[3]

In 1937, after three decades of operations, the railroad had not yet earned a profit.[9]

In 1939, three individuals were convicted in a fraud scheme involving bonds from the then Philippine Railway Company. In 1937, bonds in the "sick, sugary-hauling road" were selling for about US$11 and were about to mature apparently worthless.[10] The price of the bonds then rose rapidly to $31 a share because of rumors that the Philippine Commonwealth would buy them for $65.[10] Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon denied the rumor and the bonds crashed.[10] The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation and William P. Buckner Jr. and William J. Gillespie, members of the bondholders protective committee, were convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy.[10] Also convicted of a lesser charge was Filipino Felipe Abreu Buencamino, whip of the Philippine Assembly and confidant of President Quezon, who allegedly received $50,000 (equivalent to $851,157 in 2017) to cooperate with the plan.[10]

In 1985 passenger operations ceased and in 1989 freight operations ceased.[11]

Panay line[edit]

Panay Railways
Type Heavy rail
Locale Panay
Termini Iloilo City
Roxas City
Stations 19 permanent and 10 flagstops
Opened 1907
Closed 1985 (passenger)
1989 (freight)[11]
Owner Panay Railways, Inc.
Line length 117 km (73 mi)
Number of tracks 1
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)[3]

The original route was 117 kilometers (73 mi) long, included 19 permanent and 10 flag stations and connected the then-towns of La Paz, Jaro, Pavia, Santa Barbara, New Lucena, Pototan, Dingle, Dueñas and Passi in Iloilo and Dumarao, Dao, Panitan, Cuartero and Loctugan in Capiz.[3] It reached Roxas City. It had a total of 46 bridges.[11] In Iloilo City, the trains ended at passenger terminal along the wharf next to the Customs House and near where the current fast ferry terminal and the Iloilo City Hall.[12] Trains ran across Drilon Bridge from La Paz and down the bank of the Iloilo River to Muelle Loney in the Port of Iloilo.[11][13] In the 1980s a 12-kilometer spur was constructed from Duenas to Calinog, Iloilo to serve a sugar refinery in Iloilo. Operations ceased in 1983.[3]

Fidel V. Ramos, who would eventually become president of the Philippines, was vice chairman of the Philvidec Railway, Inc.

Since ceasing operations, the company has continued to exist and periodically announces plans to rebuild the railway,[1] either along the original route or with a change to include a connection to the Iloilo International Airport. Some plans include a second phase to extend the line from Roxas City to the Caticlan port, from where ferries to the resort island of Boracay depart.[1] As of 2014, the Philippine national government was opposed to any rebuilding of the line because it is expensive and not economically viable.[14]

On March 3, 2005, the demolition of 44 of 46 bridges was begun.[11] The bridge in Passi City was spared because of its historical value as an execution site of Philippine guerrillas by Japanese occupation forces during World War II.[11] The Drilon Bridge was also excluded as it had been donated to Iloilo City.[11] The demolition of the bridges was done as the first part of a planned rebuilding of the rail line.[11] The rebuilding has not taken place. In 2015, the mayor of Iloilo, Jed Patrick E. Mabilog, said "We’re talking with the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) Center about connecting Iloilo to the rest of the island of Panay by rail."[15]

Like many railroads, Panay Railways owns property. The railroad right-of-way stretching from Iloilo City to Roxas is 30 meters wide.[16] Further, it owns lands used for stations, terminals and rail yards. It currently leases its property to landless households (among others) from which it derives revenue to defray the personnel and administrative costs of looking after its assets.[2] As of 2012 they had more than 4,000 lessees, all of which are only allowed to build buildings of light materials and must vacate the property if needed to reestablish the railroad.[17] In April 2014, the city government of Iloilo City agreed to purchase a 2,000 sq m lot, located along Muelle Loney near the Iloilo City Hall, owned Panay Railways for 24,446,250 Philippine pesos.[14] The statue of Nicholas Loney that stands on the lot will not be moved but the Bureau of Fire Protection station also on the lot might be.[14] This lot used to be a location of a terminal of the rail line.[14]


Cebu line[edit]

Cebu line
Type Heavy rail
Locale Cebu
Termini Argao, Cebu
Danao, Cebu
Opened 1911
Closed 1942
Owner Panay Railways, Inc.
Line length 57 mi (92 km)
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)

The Philippine Railway Company, along with operating the Panay line, operated a line in Cebu from 1911 to 1942, when operations ceased because of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II.[2] The line ran from Danao south through Cebu City to Argao.[18] The line was built by the related Philippine Railways Construction Company.[19]

Central Station was at the corner of Leon Kilat and P. Del Rosario streets.[19] There was a short spur from there to the port.[19] From Argao, (where the station is now the town's fire station), going north the tracks ran to Sab-ang, Sibonga (the station is now a library of Simala Elementary School); Valladolid, Carcar (the station is now a restaurant); Cebu City; and Danao, ending at Sitio Estasyonan, which gets its name from "station".[19] The Rotunda in the poblacion of Danao was where the train would turn around, giving the place its name.[19]

During World War II, the bridges, tracks and Central Station were all struck by bombs with damage so extensive that the railway never recovered. The Cebu line was a historic and groundbreaking rail that heritage advocates have been pushing for its reconstruction since the late 1970s up to the 21st century.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Panay Island Railway System Project Revival A Potential Tourism Booster". Manila Bulletin. March 26, 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ang kasaysayan ng Panay Railways Incorporated". Department of Trade and Communication via the Philippine Railways Blog (an advocacy website). June 5, 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Salvilla, Rex S. (July 28, 2006). "Panay Railways". The News Today. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Valencia, Lynda (Jan 30, 2000). "DOTC revive Panay Railway to the tune of P3 billion". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Angelo, F. Allan L. (March 29, 2016). "PRI lot sale a win-win deal". The Daily Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  6. ^ a b McIntyre, Capt. Frank (July 1907). "Railroads in the Philippine Islands". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. XXX (American Colonial Policy and Administration): 52–61. JSTOR 1010633. 
  7. ^ "G.R. No. L-10045 March 25, 1916 (decision of the Supreme Court)". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Swaine, Robert T. (2005). The Cravath firm and its predecessors, 1819-1947. Clark, N.J.: Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 9781584777137. 
  9. ^ "PHILIPPINE RAILWAY FACES RECEIVERSHIP; Manila Government Is Reported Planning to Force Insolvency as Bonds Mature, Unpaid". New York Times. July 1, 1937. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "SCANDALS: Gaiety & Honesty". Time Magazine. July 10, 1939. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Angelo, Francis Allan L. (October 30, 2005). "PANAY RAILWAY REHAB NEXT YEAR". The Daily Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Funtecha, Ph.D., Henry F. (December 12, 2008). "Public land transportation in Iloilo in the 1930s". The News Today. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Panay railways Incorporated". Retrieved 17 May 2014.  Has map showing route through La Paz and the City Proper. In Japanese
  14. ^ a b c d Mateo, Wenceslao E. (April 5, 2014). "City eyes another P24-M lot purchase". The Daily Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Mayor pushes rail system for entire Panay Island
  16. ^ Burgos Jr., Nestor P. (April 16, 2012). "Roxas says no to revival of Panay trains but yes to new toll highway". Philippine Inquirer. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Panay Railways to amend contract with lessees". PNA and Philippine Times of Southern Nevada. March 26, 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Cebu Is. PHILIPPINES RAILWAY Co". Retrieved 17 May 2014.  Has map showing roughly the route. In Japanese.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Palmera, Erica Jean (May 15, 2014). "The old Cebu Railway". The Freeman. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Photos and maps[edit]

A few pages from a railfan site with photos, maps and more information of both the mainlines and spurs.