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PNR: Naga to Manila

February 2013
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My father-in-law was reviewing photos he had taken the past few years and found a few he had taken at the PNR Station in Naga City prior to his return to Manila more than a year ago. The PNR is still currently enjoying a period of revival that started a few years ago with the acquisition of some old but well-maintained trains from Japan. This was followed by rolling stock from Korea that are now being used for the commuter line.

The following photos were taken at the Naga Station of the PNR prior to my father-in-law’s trip back to Manila.

DSC04240 Tarpaulin showing train fares for air-conditioned and economy classes

DSC04243PNR Naga City Station

DSC04244Platform for the currently single track system

DSC04245Commuter line train at the yard – similar trains serving the long-distance trips are used for the PNR’s commuter line connecting Manila with southern Metro Manila and Laguna but with a different seating layout.

DSC04246 The platform from the perspective of a waiting passenger seated on the benches.

DSC04247Old car that obviously has seen better days steadily deteriorating in Naga.

DSC04250Manila-bound train at the platform.

DSC04254Seats inside the train reminded me of the JR Tokaido Line trains I used to ride between Yokohama and Tokyo. These are more suitable for longer commutes (1 – 2 hours) where passengers would be more comfortable if seated compared to the benches of typical urban commuter trains.

DSC04256The cars do not offer the same comfort as the sleeper cars I featured in a previous post. Nevertheless, it offers some creature comforts such as toilets and air-conditioning. There are also still few passengers at the time so one can have an entire seat for himself/herself.

DSC04259Each car of the train is connected to another and one can easily transfer between cars even during the trip. The trains are not high speed but travel times are respectable and competitive with road transport.

The PNR suffered some glitches last year including several incidence of crashes with road vehicles. However, ridership is slowly but surely increasing. More resources are needed to improve infrastructure including the acquisition of newer rolling stock and perhaps the electrification of the entire system. The PNR should also attract tourists as the Bicol Region has been quite aggressive in promoting destinations such as the CamSur wakeboarding facilities and natural attractions such as the Mayon Volcano and the beaches in the region. Caramoan, for example, has become a popular destination after the area was featured in the Survivor reality TV shows. Hopefully, ridership will increase to a point where the currently single track system in Bicol would have to be upgraded to a double track system to increase capacity for what was called the PNR Main Line South. The PNR needs a lot of support for it to recover fully from the decline it experienced in the last few decades and it can only be competitive if the entire system, including its stations and fare collection, is modernized and integrated with the urban transit lines of Metro Manila. Hopefully, such support is given by government and perhaps the private sector through a PPP arrangement.


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