Partial operability of a segment of the Philippine National Railway’s (PNR) Bicol Project is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2022, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said the Department and its attached agency, the PNR, is eyeing to start the partial operations of the San Pablo, Candelaria, Lucena, and Pagbilao segments between the first and second quarter of next year.
The DOTr chief recently inspected the alignment and the future location of the depot station of the PNR Bicol or the PNR South Long-Haul Project in Legazpi City, Albay.
PNR General Manager Junn Magno said full operations of the Bicol Project is slated for the third quarter of 2025.
“The DOTr and PNR worked hand in hand to innovate the country’s railways. PNR’s Manila-Legazpi service last run was in 2006. 14-18 hours travel time then, and only twice a week,” Magno said in a statement.
“Now, the current project will decrease travel time to 4.5-6 hours, and multiple frequency per day, depending on demand. Through this project, we are also promoting Integrated Transport, as the PNR New Daraga Station is only 2 kilometers from Bicol Airport,” he added.
In 2018, The DOTr signed a contract for the Project Management Consultant of the PNR Bicol and the basic detailed design for Civil Works Package 1 (Banlic, Laguna to Daraga, Albay) is now finished.
The DOTr and the PNR also target to publish within May and to award the Civil Works Contract Package 1 in the third quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said on-site activities are ongoing for the PNR Bicol project, including a Land Parcellary Survey, and the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment.
“Inaasahan po natin na makapag-award po tayo ng unang contractor itong third quarter ng 2021. Ongoing na rin po ang pag-aacquire natin ng mga lupa (We hope to be able to award the first contractor this third quarter of 2021. We are also in the process of acquiring lands),” Batan added.
The PNR Bicol railway line will run from Sucat, Parañaque in Metro Manila to Matnog in Sorsogon, and from Calamba to Batangas. Once operational, the about 560-kilometers long rail line is expected to reduce travel time between Manila and Legazpi from 14 to 18 hours to just six hours with regular commuter trains and 4.5 hours with express trains.
According to the DOTr, around 20,000 jobs were generated during the construction phase of the rail project and expected to bring 10,000 more local works once operational.