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A Short History of the Tranvia

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This paper explores the factors that contributed to the Tranvia's management and eventual end of operation.
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  The Manila Tranvia: A Series of Unfavorable Circumstances for the SpanishRailway Systems of ManilaMa. Victoria T. CaytonSubmitted in compliance with the reuirementsof !ntroduction to "istory #"!S $%&'University of Asia and the (aci)cMs. Sophia Marco*ebruary $%%+ 1  Present-day mass transportation systems in Manila, such as the Manila MetroRail Transit (MRT) and the Manila Light Rail Transport (LRT), have greatly contributedto providing safe, aordable and easily-accessible forms of public transportation forcommuters !hile more developed !estern countries can boast of rail"ay systemsdating bac# to the $% th century ("hich remain functional and operational at present),it appears that the same cannot be said about the Philippines& rail"ay system Thestunted development of mass transportation systems in the Philippines during the'panish period may easily be attributed to economic diculties eperienced at thetime *onetheless, there "as initiative to provide ne" modes of masstransportation-- trains "hich "ould reach distant provinces and the street cars"hich catered to the #ey areas "ithin Manila This innovation in transportation too#place during the $++&s, coincidentally "ithin the same decade "herein the 'panishcolony faced it&s most turbulent issues o"ever, little is mentioned about these'panish-period mass transportation systems Moreover, a number of thesepreviously-operational rail"ays are no longer maintained or even operational atpresent.iven the period "herein these means for mass transportation "ere built,one might /uestion "hether historical and political factors at the time of the rail"aysystems& completion "ere the only eternal contributors to the inability of epanding in operations 0n another note, there had been initiatives to further theservice during the early 1merican colonial period, "hich is to imply that there mayhave been already-eisting means "ith "hich they had improved on 2n studying thehistory of mass transportation in Manila, there prevails the /uestion on ho" theseattempts to develop means for mass transportation had failed, until the more recentrail"ay transit systems had introduced themselves in the latter 3 th  century 1ccording to 1goncillo in his 4istory of the 5ilipino People6, the need formeans of mass transportation systems also implies that there had been economicdevelopment ta#ing place e then points out the massive improvements intransportation during the 1merican period 1ccording to 1goncillo, 4This rapiddevelopment is sho"n by a comparative study7 at the end of the 'panish period, thePhilippines had less than $, miles of road 8y $%9:, the mileage increased to $3,%$3$3;6 (9<=) Moreover, ne" modes of transportation such as truc#s, cars and 2  rail"ay cars made their "ay through the streets, to replace the 4ancient bull carts, carretelas  and calesas…”  (9<=) 1ll these changes, apparently in a span of t"odecades and a "ith revolution occurring "ithin it 1goncillo&s description of thenotable development in transportation in Manila during the 1merican colonial periodmay imply that there had been a great neglect or even an absence of intent toprovide means of mass transportation o"ever, this overloo#s and someho"generali>es the circumstances surrounding eorts to provide better means fortransportation in Manila during the later 'panish period 1side from railroads beingconstructed, "ithin Manila the tranvia?a street car?"ould focus on areas of Manilafre/uented by the masses 0n a note of technicality, it is often confusing as to "hether the 4Tranvia6 "asthe ocial term for this mode of transportation The term seems to be moreapplicable to the mode of transportation established by M@R1LA0 (Manila Railroadand Light Aompany) during early 3 th  century Manila Prior to M@R1LA0&sinnovations "ith the Tranvia, it had actually adopted the abandoned plans of itsformer company, the Compania de los Tranvias Filipinas  The development of therail"ay system "as a private enterprise, one ta#en by entrepreneurs capableenough to Bnance the proCect to completion This streetcar "ould, ho"ever, onlycome after the greater plans for a rail"ay system 1s early as $+<&s, there had already been plans to establish a rail"aysystem in the Philippines This plan revolved around the area of Manila "hich "asthe capitalD this "ould be the Brst rail"ay system in Lu>on Prior to the arrival of therail"ay system, the modes of transportation available heavily relied on horses, andthe /uality also determined by the price There "ere three types of horse-dra"ncarriages in order of their pricing7 the carruaje , the quiles (much li#e the calesa ),and carromata  The idea for a massive mode of transportation "as presented by aparticular Leon Monssour, "ho submitted a proposal to Madrid for a rail"ay systemin $+<+ is concept "as inspired by the systems "hich had been utili>ed by *e" Eor# and 5rance at the time? a :-line net"or# "ith a central station outside2ntramuros The plan for railroads in Lu>on "as approved in $++9 (8lair andRobertson, FG22, 9$), and then all that "as re/uired Bnancer for the proCect 1t thispoint, it "as Hacobo Iobel y IangrJni>, together "ith Luciano 8remon and 1dolfo 3  8ayo "ho collaborated to ma#ing the plans for a rail"ay system in Lu>on a reality They thus formed the Aompania de los Tranvias 5ilipinas, "hich "as established onKecember 3+, $++: in Madrid  The initial plan for the company "as a rail"ay system for streetcars, mostlystill horse-dra"n The plan for the proposed rail system "ould begin from Pla>a 'an.abriel (8inondo), proceeding to 2ntramuros through Puertre de @spana (no" Hones8ridge), and then to Malate Ahurch, to Malacanang ("hich "as then replaced "iththe Malabon line) and then to 'ampaloc and Tondo 0f the dierent horse-dra"nlines, it "as the Malabon line "hich had the steam-po"ered tram, and "ould proveto be the most ecient  This private company "ould also provide funding for the Brst railroadtransport, the Manila-Malabon line "hich "as completed by $+++ 1ccording toGianna (3<), at that time, Malabon had been prosperous because of its cigar-ma#ing factories, bangus culture and a large sugar mills o"ned and managed by8ritish businessmen 1t the end of this rail line "as Tondo, "hich "as then thecountry&s commercial capital Later on, other train lines "hich reached more distantprovinces "ould be made These "ere the Manila-8icol line and the Manila-8atangasline 1nd of the dierent train lines, the most tas#ing "ould prove to be the Manila-Kagupan line !ith this line, the government had encouraged entrepreneurs toinvest in the proCects by providing subsidy to the investor This proCect "ouldeventually be Bnanced by a 8ritish capitalist named .eorge *oble Taylor, thecompany being named the Manila Rail"ay Aompany This line "ould also prove tobe problematic in construction, and the company "as able to secure a deal good for%% years, 4all the ris#s to be borne by the 'panish government "hich "ouldcertainly be passed on to the consumers6 (Gienna, 3<) and thus an unproBtableenterprise could easily be given up by the 8ritish  The train lines "ere "ell-received and maintained 8ut aside from these far-reaching rail"ay systems, Aompania delos Tranvias de 5ilipinas focused more on thetranvias& rail"ay system 2nitially, the trams "ere a success o"ever, themaintenance of the horses, the distaste of 1mericans in the use of horses for publictransportation, the death of Iobel in $+%= and the political state of aairs in Manila 4  "ould contribute to its ceasing epansion of operations (*er, $%%+) The system"as operational by $+++, but "ith the problems this innovative form of masstransportation "ould face, the company had hardly improved its systems 8y $%3,only t"o coaches "ere operating everyday and in about a year, the company "aspurchased by the Metro @lectric and Rail"ay Aompany (M@R1LA0)  The mass transport systems "ere enCoyed by the public for a considerableamount of time, until further into the decade "hen it "ould be a turbulent time forthe 'panish colony Problems surrounding the further development of the Aompania"ere both "ithin the company and also "ith the eternal circumstance occurring atthe time 5or one, there "ere the diculties brought about by the longcommunication line bet"een Madrid and Manila "hich made communicationdicult 1side from this, it appears that the services had left much to be desired The horse-dra"n lines "ere indeed convenient but still slo" compared to the steam-po"ered lines 1nother, that there "ere safety ha>ards in ta#ing the tramD 4it "asno uncommon sight on a slight ramp or sharp turn for all hands to get o and helpthe vehicle over the diculty (Paterno, $%%+) 1side from the dierent problemsalready surrounding the construction of the lines, the revolution and thegovernment changes "hich "ould occur "ould ma#e it impossible to continuedeveloping the trains The 1mericans "ould, ho"ever, pic# up from thesedevelopments and continue Bnancing and etending lines and improving services 8y $%3, La Aompania had long-ceased its operations 8y this period, it "asthe 1merican occupation in Manila 0n 0ctober 3, $%3, The PhilippineAommission passed a la" that set into motion franchises to be a"arded to biddersfor the construction and operation of electric transportation net"or#s 5or theAompania, only one bid "as submitted, and on the 3 th  of March, $%9, theMunicipal 8oard of Manila passed 0rdinance , "hich a"arded Aharles M '"iftfrom Ketroit "ith the company The *e" Hersey Aompany "as established andeventually renamed the Manila @lectric Railroad and Light Aompany (M@R1LA0)Later on, the Philippine Aommission allo"ed M@R1LA0 to ta#e over the properties of La Aompania de los Tranvias 5ilipinas 1ccording to the 0rdinance, the ne" companyhad to establish t"elve lines 1t least by $%$9, nine out of these t"elve "ereestablished 5
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