Meet The Manila Trolley Boys… Risking Their Lives On The Philippines’ Train Tracks

These are the Manila trolley boys who run their own illegal railway – ferrying commuters on hand-made carts while risking being crushed to death by oncoming trains.

The lads haul their rickety wooden carriages – complete with sun parasols – onto the tracks in the capital of the Philippines, some how managing to avoid the dozens of locomotives that thunder by each day.

Passengers pay them 10 peso (15p) per trip, grateful for a way to avoid heavy congestion on the city’s roads and dodge higher ticket prices on the actual train system.

The trolley boys cleverly memorise train schedules in order to avoid fatal collisions – almost certainly killing themselves and their passengers.

The illegal railway has been dubbed ‘the world’s most dangerous commute’ but demand from commuters – including office workers and teachers – is soaring.

Miraculously, there has never been an accident between the trains and the push carts, which the lads need to propel forward like a skateboard.

Speaking in the video, twelve-year-old Ronel Garcia said that he can earn up to 200 peso (3GBP) a day for the back-braking work.

He said: ”My friend taught me how to do this when I was only 10. It’s hard to push because it’s heavy. I have to endure if I get tired.

”The weather is also hot. I know that the trolley is dangerous.

”One miscalculation of the time, the train could catch up to you. But after years of experience, we already know the right timing. Our passengers trust us.

”Commuters choose to ride the trolley because it is cheap and we evade the slow traffic in the main roads.

”It could be the most dangerous commute in the world.”

Ronel said he has stopped attending school in order to work as a trolley boy and ”support his family”. He said he pays 30 peso to rent the cart, and can take home around 200 peso on a good day.

He added: ”When there’s not many passengers, I only get 50 peso. I will not have food for money if I earn little. During those days, I ask loan from friends.

”My dream is only simple. I just want to get out of poverty, and stop pushing trolleys for a living. I work every day until 10pm.”

While there has never been a fatal collision between the trains and the trolleys, there are often near misses and the lads can come within inches of being hit.

But the illegal railway continues to prove popular with the city’s workers. One passenger, 46-year-old Noemi Nieves, said: ”There is no traffic. It is convenient for us and the fare is just right for our budget.”

Another, Danica Lorraine, 25, said she cuts an hour from her daily commute by using the trolleys. She added: ”You just need to be cautious — very, very, very cautious.”

One stretch of her journey passes over the Pasig river – with a 15-meter (50-foot) plunge between the rail tracks and the water below.

Female teacher Kerkleen Bongalon said: ”At first it was scary. I don’t know how to swim so if something happens while we are on the bridge I really don’t know what would happen. But nothing will happen because the trolley boys know the time the train will pass by. I trust them.”

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