ELECTRIC TROLLEY LINE

In 1907, authorization was given for the construction of the electric trolley line of Corregidor. Construction took about three years and it started serving the mass transportation needs of the island in 1910. The streetcars proved to be a convenient and economical means of getting personnel and supplies about the island. The electric line had 14,700 feet of track to reach Topside. It started at the North Mine Wharf and connected junctions to Lorcha Dock and a junction to the South Mine Wharf. A junction was also built to connect Engineers Wharf which ran through Barrio San Jose. Along its route and halfway to Middleside, a station served the Corregidor Intermediate School, barracks and the stockade. There were a series of stations that were built that led to the Mile Long Barracks. Most of the important points, barracks, installations, as well as the major gun emplacements such as Batteries Morrison, Grubbs, Smith, Hearn, Cheney, Wheeler, and Geary were served by the electric trolley.

The Quartermaster Corps was responsible for the operation of the trolley system. All its motormen, conductors and dispatchers were military personnel. Passenger service was free and there were also daily freight movements which were closely monitored by a dispatcher. It was only about 22 years later when the main shaft of the Malinta Tunnel was completed that the trolley line was able to ran straight through the hill to a terminus at Kindley Field. The streetcars ran on a regular schedule between Kindley Field and the different stations at Topside and had first, second and third class seats.

From a station near the Post Theater on Topside, the heavy-duty and open-sided trolleys wound around hairpin turns down to Middleside at a 4 percent grade. In the thirty-one years that the electric trolley line was in operations before the war, there was only one known serious accident in 1925 when one of the streetcars lost its brakes and ran out of control down the hill. This unfortunate accident resulted in the death of eight people. When war broke out on December 1941, tons of supplies stored in different warehouses and the hospital were moved into Malinta Tunnel. The electric rail freight motors were used for this movement which took about two weeks. During the first heavy bombardment of Corregidor in December, severe damage was made on the rail system. The bombs cut the main lines at several points between Bottomside and Topside and these lines were never repaired since priority was given to the defense of the island. Although there was limited operation at Bottomside using undamaged trolleys, this did not last very long.

There is nothing much left of Corregidor's elaborate railway system which used to snake around the different sectors of the island. For those who visit Malinta Tunnel, they will still find two tracks of the 36-inch standard railroad gauge running through the main tunnel. However, on the other parts of the island, the rail beds and paths are now just pathways and trails and at most places these have disappeared completely. The railway system which was at one time the envy of other countries in the Far East has faded away and is now a part of the history of Corregidor.



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