I used to be the main express
All steam and whistles heading west
Picking up my pain from door to door
Riding on the storyline
Furnace burning overtime
But this train don’t stop,
This train don’t stop,
This train don’t stop there anymore

This train don’t stop there anymore
–Elton John, Bernie Taupin

When I was a little girl I had always imagined that running away from home always involved a train ride. This was despite (or maybe because of) my not actually having ridden in one or even seen one at the time. Trains fascinated me then, a fact that American westerns and European movies contributed to, with scenes like the ones in Bridge over the River Kwai and Dr. Zhivago.

I have always wanted to ride a train. The LRT’s and MRT’s don’t count, they have tracks that are above ground and just take you through the city, where one stop is almost always like the next. I want to ride a train that will take me through a time warp like Marty McFly’s in the third Back to the Future movie, but then again that may be too much wishing.

I’m thinking of the train to Bicol. Would like to get on that soon.

In the meantime I’m reading through these:

One thing about trains: It doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.

Running away on the train

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7 thoughts on “Running away on the train

  1. Hi there again.
    Sadly your dream trip to Bicol may have to wait a while. The line was closed beyond Binan in 2006 (following a typhoon) and the Southrail rebuild project has yet to start, assuming it ever does with all the trouble President Gloria is currently facing 🙁
    All going to plan it will be a few years down the track (hehehehe a small railway joke).


    Philippine Railways SIG

  2. my fascination with trains is quite different. — making detailed model trains complete with sceneries, tracks and miniature buildings.
    problem is…mahal lang kaayo mag start ani na hobby. huhuhu

  3. I like the last line.

    My baby Jo-Lo also likes his toy train as it goes round and round and round. I have also been wistfully wondering when I can ride a train in the countryside.

  4. it’s been along time i’d rode a train. i bet there is no progress – same old, dilapidated trains. funny how they plunge into new projects where the old ones are not even maintained.


  5. The government’s failure to develop a modern and efficient railway system is a shame. Railways can be used not just for mass transit but also for hauling cargo (food and other goods) to far flung provinces in a very efficient, safe, and less costly manner. There would be no corrupt military and abusive NPA rebels to deal with.

    Marcos made a colossal blunder in shifting the focus to highway construction in the late 60s and early 70s. Though he and his crazy wife tried to make up for it with the LRT, the LRT is only one small piece of the solution. We need a more comprehensive plan that would impact the whole country and not just Metro Manila.

  6. Brad, how disappointing! Although now that you mentioned it, the last time I heard about this Bicol Express is from one of the tech engineers in my team sometime in 2006. He was down in Rapu Rapu at a client site and he asked me if he could take the train going back to Manila instead of the bus.

    daddynator, if you’ve seen the movie Hitch you’ll remember Will Smith had this expansive recreation of the american civil war in his living room. Make something like that?

    wats0n, first time Pakluy (he must have been 5 or 6 years old at the time) got a toy train on tracks, we assembled it, and then he lay on the floor beside it just watching it go round and round … The last line is from “The Polar Express”, btw. Haven’t seen it, but I’m downloading it as we blog.

    bingskee, one of the worst forms of ningas kugon, or a lack of respect for something that has served you for a long time. the trains deserve at least an honorable de-commissioning.

    Panaderos, you hit the nail right on the head. if the Philippines were to develop a train system similar to that of europe it would deal with not only transport problems for people and goods, but would also help with the problem of congestion in the city. people can work in the city and go home to the province everyday if the trains were in place.

  7. Hi guys,
    The government is trying to develop a fast and modern system and they are achieving more, slowly thanks to rival government figures, than has been done to fix the railways there than has been the case for a long time.

    The old ones were never maintained due to consecutive governments really supplying far less funding than was required. They seemed not to realise it was a service that didn’t necessarily HAVE to make money.
    Northrail is owned and operated by the Chinese (although on land apparently still owned by the PNR), while the linkage project is supposed to be ran by PNR on behalf of the Koreans who funded it, a similar agreement is to take place with Southrail.
    It is a completely different situation to before and I can’t see these investors letting their investments be run into the ground and not maintained.

    Best wishes
    Philippine Railways SIG

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