MANILA, Philippines — Bicolanos and tourists planning to make the long trip to Naga City for the feast of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia this month may heave a sigh of relief after the Philippine National Railways (PNR) resumed Monday the operation of its Bicol Express.
PNR Operations Manager Estelito Nierva said the Bicol Express resumed its interprovincial operation this week after the successful construction of a steel bridge that supports the government-owned rail tracks in Camarines Sur.
He said the construction of the steel bridge in Barangay Malaguico in Sipocot town will permanently solve the perennial disruption of the Bicol Express’ operation whenever heavy rains wash away the loose soil embankment of the PNR’s rail tracks in the province.
It was recalled that PNR officials decided to suspend last month the recently revived operation of the Bicol Express after Typhoon Juaning’s wrath caused soil erosion along the PNR rail tracks in Camarines Sur, making it impassable to trains going to and from Naga City.
“The PNR board met last Wednesday and decided to resume the operation of Bicol Express on September 5. The resumption of operation is made in time for the upcoming feast of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia this month,” Nierva said.
But Nierva clarified that the resumed operation of Bicol Express will be on a “trial basis” until December.
“This means that the operation of the Bicol Express is not yet considered a commercial one since we are still testing the market and viability of commercial operation,” he added.
Nevertheless, the PNR’s Bicol Express will still deploy 6:30 p.m. trips every other day from Tutuban in Manila and from Naga in Camarines Sur and fares will still be on promotional rates at P548 for reclining seats, P950 for sleepers and P1,400 for executive sleepers with four berths each.
Nierva assured the public that PNR engineers have also inspected and rehabilitated all the bridges supporting the rail tracks going to and from Bicol aside from constructing the Malaguico bridge.
“We at PNR are ready for the exodus of passengers to Bicol for the feast of Peñafrancia and even for the upcoming Christmas break. Despite our limited rolling stock, we assure the public that PNR is safe to transport passengers to their destination,” he said.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Bicol Express rolls out again