JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 1002

The oldest train system in the country is currently in the initial phase of rehabilitation, a program already set in motion under the current administration.

PNR's rehabilitation will be focusing on reviving the Bicol Express operations, improving the metro commuter line, as well as planning the expansion of PNR service throughout Luzon.

PNR currently operates commuter lines from the Tutuban station to Mamatid, which is an additional two mores stops after Sta. Rosa.

Dilay said the Bicol trips, which were suspended in 2012 due to a derailment incident, will be operational in September this year The PNR team has already been conducting train test runs to Naga, and the tracks leading to Naga have also been fixed and reinforced.

Dilay, who worked in many big rail projects abroad, has already instituted reforms to make PNR earn income and run efficiently despite budget constraints and meager resources.


Special "shuttle" trains, which cover fewer stops in the commuter line, now run every 15 minutes, Stead of the 30 minutes, during rush hour to carry more passengers to and from work. First-class trains designated for the Bicol route, which were sidelined because of the suspension of the trip, were utilized for the metro commuter line for a premier train service. More cars were attached to the old locomotive trains to accommodate the increase in passengers. Color coded tickets were introduced and train marshals hired to prevent fare pilferage. Dilay said about P5 million a month is lost to PNR because of the manual ticket system.


Dilay also implemented the automation of PNR internal operations through the activation of computers that were just lying around unused in PNR premises. "One of the priorities is the installation of an automated fare and ticketing collection similar to what MRT and LRT have. Fare leakage is a major problem and it's attributed to many factors such as passengers getting a free ride, passengers paying the minimum fare for a long trip. And another is internal. Our immediate solution for now is the installation of ticket marshals and introduction of color coded tickets." Dilay's efforts seem to be producing positive results. There's now a 40 percent increase in PNR ridership, which avenged to more than 2 million a month, compared to the same period or months in 2013, which averaged to a little over a million a month.

Higher revenues

PNR revenue also increased by 70 percent, and its non-rail revenue likewise grew by 30 percent compared to last year's. Dilay said it will cost billions of dollars to fully rehabilitate PNR and make it a modem train system that is fully automated and the train cars powered by electricity. Currently PNR has only 22 diesel-fed trains, half of them not running and in need of parts. The agency is in the process of requesting some P11 billion from the Department of Bud-get to be used in the rehabilitation of tracks from Manila to Bicol, the purchase of new trains, and the repair of existing ones. Track improvement through double tracking will allow trains to run faster than their 40 kph average speed today. Dilay envisions PNR to once again play a major part in the country's transportation system and no longer suffer neglect. The height of PNR's prime existence before its neglect in the 1970s was during the presidency of Ramon Magsaysay, when first class air conditioned trains with all the trappings travelled from Manila to La Union.