The Philippine National Railways (PNR) is about to receive some considerable upgrades in the coming years. One of them is a new 565km line that stretches from Metro Manila all the way to Sorsogon—the South Long Haul Project.
Also known as PNR Bicol, the new railway will supposedly improve travel times heading south and also generate jobs. Cutting a 12-hour drive down to a much more convenient four-hour train ride, though, won’t be easy. And it won’t be cheap, either.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) recently signed a P142-billion contract with the joint venture of China Railway Group, China Railway No. 3 Engineering Group, and China Railway Engineering Consulting Group for the “construction, and electromechanical works for the project,” and this is only for the first segment. This is the agency’s largest single railway contract ever.
The first segment of the rail line’s first phase will span 380km and will stretch from Banlic, Calamba, to Daraga, Albay. It will include the construction of 23 PNR stations, 230 bridges, 10 tunnels, and a 70-hectare depot in San Pablo, Laguna.
“We welcome this development full of enthusiasm as we will be working with rail experts known for their efficiency and speed in building long haul railways,” PNR general manager Junn Magno said in a statement.
“This, along with our earnest goal to provide comfort and convenience to our commuters, will make this dream project a reality.”
That’s a steep price to pay but one that should be well worth it if the completed PNR Bicol Project can live up to expectations. Hey, we love long drives—but not everyone has the time to be out on the road for half a day. Will you be taking this rail line once it’s finished?