On this day – November 24 1892: Railway from Manila to Dagupan opens

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A railway between Manila and Dagupan in Pagngasian is inaugurated on November 24, 1892.

On November 24, 1892, the 195km stretch of railway from Manila to Dagupan in Pangasinan was officially inaugurated.

Transportation throughout the region of Luzon changed when the line was completed, leading to efficient delivery and transportation of people and goods throughout the northern regions of Luzon.

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In June, 1875, by royal decree of King Alfonso XII of Spain, the Philippines was ordered to submit a general plan to establish a railroad line on the island of Luzon.

Then in June, 1887, a concession to build that very railroad was awarded to Don Edmundo Sykes under the corporate name Manila Railway Company Ltd. of London.

Construction began the very next month and was completed, five years later, on this day in 1892.

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By the 1940s the Philippines had railroads serving a good part of the country. This network officially became known as the Philippine National Railways in June, 1946.

Much of the infrastructure was severely damaged during World War Two. Since then, despite repeated promises, the network has never approached anywhere near it past glories, and if anything has been a tale of steady decline.

Most recently, ambitious plans have been announced to build a high-speed link between Clark and Manila, and also a circular railroad serving the island of Davao. Whether these projects will remain on track, and ever go full steam ahead, is anyone’s guess.

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