With the demise of active steam in Negros, very few
visitors bother to come here to look at the industrial railways. For this
reason, I was very pleased to have a first hand report from Eddie Barnes.
See also James
Waite's 2007 report and Thomas
Kautzor's 2007 report which have a lot of background information.
Updated with news of BMMC 7 which has
received a cosmetic restoration (14th May 2023).
People's Park, San Carlos City
San Carlos Milling Co. no. 1 (BLW (Baldwin 38639/1912) has been moved here, having previously been displayed opposite the entrance to the mill site. It is an 0-6-0ST+T, but without its tender. The loco cab appears to be a magnet for courting couples!
The San Carlos Milling Co. site was not visited, having been cleared several years ago. There are photos on the web of locos 5 (BLW), 7 and 8 (Henschel) in the yard of a scrap dealer in Liloan (Cebu) dating from 2008, but I was unable to find any trace there when passing through Liloan on 14/12/2016.
Bacolod-Murcia Milling Corp 0-6-0T+T "no. 7" was found just off the corner of 4th Road and Galo Street, near the centre of town. The loco sits on a short track inside a compound which houses (housed?) the offices of the company. A security guard on the gate gave permission to enter provided we only took pictures of the loco itself.
Later news (14th May 2023) is that locomotive has been given a cosmetic
restoration and relocated to outside the McDonalds at a development on
the site of the old mill -
The loco is one of three on the system (5, 6 and 7), listed as coming from Vulcan Ironworks (Wilkes-Barr, USA), but no sources give works numbers. Looking through the VIW builders lists, I cannot find any locos supplied directly to BMMC, but suggest they may have come from Binalbagan Estates which disposed of three locos of matching specification (b/ns 3011/2/22 of 1920) in 1937, 1937 and 1932 respectively and which would fit neatly the BMMC numbering sequence. Even if this identification is correct, matching the preserved loco (which carries no identifying marks, as far as I could see) to a particular builder's number, is little more than guesswork and complicated in that it is thought to have been BMMC no. 6, which was one of the last working locos and previously reported being renumbered during a repaint. The tender carries a plate from "Koppel Indust Car & Equip Co", who acted as agents for many of VIW's exports.
La Carlota no. 108, an 0-6-2ST+T (Baldwin 52937/1920) is grounded in gravel at Panaad Park with its tender at a sharp angle to the locomotive. The morning sun was not ideal for photography.
Time did not permit a visit to La Carlota itself. However Google Streetview shows "Iron Dinosaur" no. 105 prominently displayed beside Guerrea Street/San Enrique Road west of La Carlota City and no. 4 is believed still to be displayed outside the mill entrance. Supported by photographic evidence, nine steam and seven diesel locomotives were removed from the mill site in 2011 to a large coal mining operation on Semirara Island, where the diesels were intended to be put into industrial service and the steam locomotives eventually restored to operational condition.
Finally in Bacolod, an 0-6-0ST remains plinthed in the middle of a roundabout on the Circumferential Road (entrance to La Herecia residential development and just South of where the Airport Access Road branches off). The identity of the loco is a mystery, but may be from Central Azucarera de
Hawaiian-Philippine Sugar Company, Silay
Having not made prior arrangements, we were denied access to the site by security guards, who referred us to the Tourist Office and Museum in Silay City. Apparently, public tours can be arranged starting at 4pm (according to demand), which unfortunately didn't fit with our tight schedule and we had to make do with what could be observed through the fence.
The railway system remains in operation and retains two 0-6-0 steam locomotives that can be made operational for visiting tour parties. The locomotives have had a fresh repaint in red livery - no. 5 (BLW 52866/1920, now renamed "The Isabella Curran") clearly visible from the roadside, the other (presumed to be no. 7) behind and wrapped in plastic sheeting.
Victorias Milling Company
The Tourist Office at Silay did arrange permission for our next port of call, at the Victorias Milling Co., where much-photographed 0-8-0 13-B (Baldwin 58473/1925) has been plinthed just inside the main gate for around thirty years. The mill no longer uses its railway system, but receives many visitors to see both its preserved steam engine and a bizarre mural in a church constructed for the workers.
The rather magnificent 0-6-6-0 Mallet, Insular Lumber Company no. 7 (Baldwin 58239/1925), remains on display in Public Plaza in the town
Lopez Sugar Central, Fabrica
Two Shays remain here. No.9 (Lima 2759/1914) is inside the compound, but visible from the roadside, while no. 10 (Lima 2348/1910) is plinthed outside the main gate. In both cases, the "interesting side" is facing away from the observer.
Bogo-Medellin Milling Company (Bomedco)
Not having been reported on for several years, and following a change of ownership, I was pleased to find 0-6-2T no. 3 (JF 18500/1929) still exists within the site to the south of
A small diesel, Bogo-Medellin Milling Co. no. 2 and a wagon are displayed in the town plaza. The locomotive is a rare example of a survivor from the works of Midwest Locomotive Co., Hamilton Ohio (believed to be 16-ton 1023/1929).
Another town, another plaza. Bogo-Medellin Milling Co. diesel, no. 7 (Plymouth JDTW 6669/1968) is displayed here and with Christmas approaching was suitably decorated for the occasion.