Saturday, 19 June 2010

PNR to resume ‘Bicol Express’ June 25, PGMA told

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna (PND) – The Philippine National Railways (PNR) is set to resume regular trips to the Bicol Region by Friday next week, PNR officials told President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo today.

The PNR halted its daily train trips to the Bicol province after the San Cristobal bridge here was destroyed when typhoons “Milenyo” and “Reming” battered Southern Luzon one after the other in 2006.

Now, with a newly constructed 50-meter bridge taking the place of the devastated San Cristobal bridge, the Bicol Train service, from Manila to Ligao, Albay will soon resume.

In a briefing in one of PNR’s newly acquired train coaches that took the Chief Executive, PNR and local government officials and members of media to its Bicutan station in Parañaque, PNR General Manager Ower Andal said the “Bicol Express” trip would be available to commuters by June 25, 2010.

Andal added that operational works, which include replacing the wooden tresses with concrete and the addition of compacting materials to improve the stability of the tracks, is being undertaken from now until the 25th to ensure the safety of railroad tracks for its trips to Bicol.

Andal said the resumption of the Bicol trips of the PNR “closes the loop” by linking the North and South Rail project, part of the President’s 10-point agenda to decongest Metro Manila.

In the same briefing, Andal told the President the PNR expects its passenger base to increase from the 400,000 a month to 600,000.

He said that if the trend continues, the PNR will have to increase the departure of trains from its usual 30-minute interval to 15 minutes to cope with the demand.

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