The Philippine National Railways (PNR) will stop all its train services for five years starting December 2023, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Tuesday.
The suspension of operations is necessary to make way for the construction of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), a 147-kilometer rail line that will connect Clark in Pampanga to Calamba in Laguna, passing through 28 cities in Central Luzon, Metro Manila, and Calabarzon.
PNR General Manager Jeremy Regino said that the DOTr is coordinating with other agencies and local government units to provide alternative modes of transportation for the affected commuters.
He added that the LTFRB has already opened up new bus routes and franchises to cater to the demand. Some of the routes are FTI-Divisoria via East Service Road, Alabang Starmall–Divisoria via South Luzon Expressway, and Malabon-Divisoria.
Regino also assured the public that the PNR will resume its operations once the NSCR project is completed by 2028.
The NSCR is part of the government’s Build, Build, Build program that aims to modernize and expand the country’s transportation network. It is funded by loans from Japan and China, and is expected to create thousands of jobs during its construction and operation phases.
According to the DOTr, the NSCR will have 35 stations and will serve around 830,000 passengers daily once operational. It will also integrate with other existing and planned railway lines such as the Metro Manila Subway, LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3, MRT-7, and PNR South Long Haul.
The PNR currently operates three lines: Metro South Commuter Line from Tutuban to Calamba, Metro-North Commuter Line from Tutuban to Malabon via Governor Pascual Avenue, and Bicol Commuter Line from Naga to Legazpi.
Here are some of the dates when each PNR trip would stop:
- July 2, 2023: Alabang-Calamba trips suspended
- July 15 – 16, 2023: Alabang-Biñan and Biñan-Alabang trips suspended
- October 2023: Tutuban-Bicutan, Tutuban-Alabang, and Governor Pascual-Tutuban trips suspended
- December 2023: All PNR operations suspended
The PNR has been serving the country since 1892, making it one of the oldest railway systems in Asia. It has faced several challenges over the years such as natural disasters, accidents, vandalism, lack of funding, and competition from other modes of transport.
Image: patrickroque01, Wikipedia