Philippine National Railways
|Founded||November 24, 1892|
|Joseph Allan C. Dilay
|Owner||Government of the Philippines under DOTC|
The Philippine National Railways (Filipino: Pambansang Daambakal ng Pilipinas), or PNR, is a state-owned railway company in the Philippines, operating a single line of track on Luzon. As of 2015, it operates one commuter rail service in Metro Manila; its services in the Bicol Region has been restored . PNR restored its intercity service to the Bicol region in 2011 and the Bicol Express and Isarog Express were scheduled to run daily between Manila and Ligao, but as of September 2013 these trains were suspended.
PNR began operations on November 24, 1892 as the Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan, during the Spanish colonial period, and later becoming the Manila Railroad Company (MRR) during the American colonial period. It became the Philippine National Railways on June 20, 1946 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4156. The PNR is an agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
PNR used to operate over 1,100 km (684 mi) of route from La Union up to Bicol. However, continued neglect in past decades reduced PNR's efficiency and railroad coverage. Persistent problems with informal settlers in the 1990s contributed further to PNR's decline. In 2006, Typhoons Milenyo and Reming caused severe damage to the network, resulting in the suspension of the Manila-Bicol services.
In 2007 the Philippine government initiated a rehabilitation project aiming to remove informal settlers from the PNR right-of-way, revitalize commuter services in Metro Manila, and restore the Manila-Bicol route as well as lost services in Northern Luzon. In July 2009, PNR unveiled a new corporate identity and inaugurated new rolling stock.
In July 2014, the management conducted a test run. It was planned to resume the services of the Bicol Express Service by about September 2014. Due to the damages brought by the Typhoon Rammasun, known in the Philippines as Bagyong Glenda, it was announced that the Bicol Express' resumption of services would be further delayed until October and November 2014. However, as of April 2015 services had still not been resumed.
- 1 History
- 2 Operations and services
- 3 Suspended services
- 4 Defunct services
- 5 Stations
- 6 Plans
- 7 Rolling stock
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
On June 25, 1875, under a royal decree issued by King Alfonso XII of Spain, the required Inspector of Public Works of the Philippine Islands was requested to submit a railway system plan for Luzon. The plan, which was submitted five months later by Don Eduardo Lopez Navarro, was entitled Memoria Sobre el Plan General de Ferrocarriles en la Isla de Luzón, and was promptly approved. A concession for the construction of a railway line from Manila to Dagupan was granted to Don Edmundo Sykes of the Ferrocarril de Manila–Dagupan (Manila–Dagupan Railway), later to become the Manila Railway Company, Ltd. of London, on June 1, 1887.
The Ferrocarril de Manila–Dagupan, which constitutes much of the North Main Line today, began construction in July 31, 1887 with the laying of the cornerstone for Tutuban station, and the 195-kilometer (121 mi) line opened on November 24, 1892. Expansion of the Philippine railway network would not begin until the American colonial period, when on December 8, 1902, the Philippine Commission passed legislation authorizing the construction of another railway line, which would later form the South Main Line. Additional legislation was passed until 1909 authorizing further railway construction and the use of government bonds to finance them, and by 1916, 792.5 kilometers (492.4 mi) of track had been built by the company, which had reorganized itself as the Manila Railroad Company of New Jersey (MRR).
Similar to other railroads at the time, the Manila Railroad Company suffered from financial difficulties during World War I, and on February 4, 1916, the Philippine Assembly passed Act No. 2574, authorizing the Governor-General to negotiate for the nationalization of the MRR's assets. The MRR was eventually nationalized in January 1917, with the Philippine government paying ₱8 million to the company's owners and assuming ₱53.9 million in outstanding debt. Consequently, the MRR's management shifted from British to American hands, and in 1923, José Paez became the first Filipino general manager.
During the 1920s, the MRR embarked on a general program of improvements as a result of operating surpluses accrued over much of the decade. The ₱30 million program allowed for the extension of railway service on the North Main Line from Dagupan to San Fernando in La Union, the extension of the South Main Line to Legazpi in Albay, and the construction of several spur lines. Regular direct service between Manila and Legazpi was later inaugurated in January 1938, and by 1941, the MRR operated 1,140.5 kilometers (708.7 mi) of track.
On December 14, 1941, at the start of World War II, the MRR was put under U.S. military control, and on December 30, the MRR management was ordered to allow U.S. military forces to destroy network infrastructure, resulting in very extensive damage to train facilities and right of way. Coupled with further damage during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, where the Imperial Japanese Army operated services on a very limited basis using whatever could be salvaged, and further fighting in the Allied liberation of the Philippines by the combined American and Filipino forces a few years later, damages to railroad property amounted to around ₱30 million. By the end of the war, only 452 kilometers (281 mi) were operational, largely as a result of the United States Army and the Philippine Commonwealth Army was performing temporary repairs on railroad infrastructure for military purposes. MRR property was later returned to the Philippine government on February 1, 1946.
Following the war, the MRR was able to restore limited services, using surplus military equipment and payments made by the United States Army and the Philippine Commonwealth Army for use of railway facilities in the Philippines Campaign. By July 1, 1947, funded by a ₱20 million rehabilitation allocation set aside by the Philippine government, around 75% of the entire railway network prior to 1941 was rehabilitated. By 1951, with the MRR receiving ₱3 million in war reparations funds, 941.9 kilometers (585.3 mi) of track, representing 82.5% of the total railway network prior to 1941, was in operation. Later in the 1950s, the MRR fleet of trains was converted from steam to diesel engines, and the company was given a new charter under Republic Act No. 4156, becoming the modern-day Philippine National Railways.
Natural calamities such as the 1973 and 1975 floods disrupted services and forced the closure of several parts of the main lines. On July 23, 1979, President Ferdinand Marcos issued Executive Order No. 546, which designated the Philippine National Railways as an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications. In 1988, during the administration of Corazon Aquino, the North Main Line was closed, with trains unable to reach various provinces in the country. Even the South Rail was also closed due to typhoons and floods, and the eruption of Mayon Volcano in 1993, in which ash flows and lava destroyed the rail line and its facilities. However, jeeps, buses and taxis were popular, and many people are swayed from the present service until 2009. The previous administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was actively pursuing the rehabilitation of the Philippine National Railways through various investments and projects designed to revive Philippine rail transport, despite the numerous problems involved. Total reconstruction of rail bridges and tracks, including replacement of the current 35-kilogram (77-pound) track with newer 50-kilogram (110-pound) tracks and the refurbishing of stations, were part of the rehabilitation and expansion process. The first phase, converting all the lines of the Manila metropolitan area, were completed in 2009. On July 14, 2009, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presided over the launch of the new diesel multiple-units of the Philippine National Railways. As part of its new image, a new brand name, PNR Filtrack was added.
The San Cristobal bridge in Calamba, Laguna was rebuilt in May, 2011. The Bicol Express train service was inaugurated on June 29, with a maiden voyage between Manila and Naga City plus a return trip back to the terminus on July 1. This inaugural trip was marred by the collapse of the embankment at Malaguico, Sipocot. It was discovered before the train passed through and was repaired. The restored Bicol Express intercity service is offered nowadays on a daily basis, running mostly during night time.
Operations and services
The PNR currently operates in the Manila metropolitan area and the provinces of Laguna, Quezon, Camarines Sur (Naga City) and Albay. In the past, the PNR also used to serve the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and La Union on the North Main Line, and Batangas, Naic and Cavite City as well as Carmona, Cavite, Pagsanjan, Laguna, Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Taytay and Antipolo in the province of Rizal, on the South Main Line.
The Metro Commuter (also MSC or Metro South Commuter), which was formerly called Commuter Express (also Commex), serves as the commuter rail service for the Manila metropolitan area, extending as far south as Calamba City, Laguna. The PNR uses GE locomotives such as 900 Class, 2500 Class, and 5000 Class hauling Commex passenger car as well as newly procured 18 (3 car trains, 6 sets) Hyundai Rotem DMUs and KiHa 52 for this service. 203 series EMUs are now also used for Metro Commuter runs.
MSC service using the new DMUs, KiHa 52, and 203 series EMUs is currently offered between Tutuban and Alabang in Muntinlupa City. Currently, MSC makes 50 return services, 25 in each direction on weekdays, with hourly services all day sundays. 
The Bicol Commuter service is a commuter rail service in the Bicol Region, between stations in Tagkawayan, Quezon and Legazpi, Albay, with Naga City in Camarines Sur acting as a central terminus, the center of transportation. The service was launched on September 16, 2009, in time for the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City. The trains make seven trips a day, alternating between Tagkawayan, Sipocot, Naga City and Legazpi as the terminus. All services use KiHa 52 in revised blue livery.
The Premiere Train service is a commuter rail service introduced on March 3, 2014 and uses JR KiHa 59 "Kogane" trainset. The Premiere Train originates from Tutuban Terminal and stops at Blumentritt, España, Santa Mesa, Buendia, EDSA, Sucat, Alabang, San Pedro, Biñan and Santa Rosa stations. Fares cost ₱ 60.00 to ₱ 90.00
This train service was supposed to be removed on May 23, 2014 because they will use modified 203 series EMUs that will stop at all stations between Tutuban Terminal and Santa Rosa Station to cater more passengers. It was replaced by the 203 series on June 25, 2014.
The Shuttle Service was a commuter rail service introduced on January 27, 2014. This service used Hyundai Rotem DMUs and JR KiHa 52. There are 2 routes of the Shuttle Service, where trains stop at all stations along the routes: Tutuban railway station–Sucat railway station and Santa Mesa railway station–Sucat railway station This train service ended May 23, 2014 to conduct maintenance on the rolling stocks and due to the consecutive three weeks of delays and cancellations of this train service.
The PNR has been working for some years on restoring this intercity service without success. As of September 2013, operations to the Bicol Region have been suspended. This is primarily because of typhoon damage to bridges. The PNR hoped to reopen the Bicol Express Service by about September 2014; however, as of April 2015 services had still not been resumed.
The trip designator is Train T-611 for the southbound (MA-NG) and Train T-612 for the northbound (NG-MA).
In March 2012, another train, the Mayon Limited, ran between Tutuban and Ligao. The train ran as Mayon DeLuxe on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Tutuban as train T-713 with three air-conditioned carriages with reclining seats. The train returned on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday as train T-714 from Ligao. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays the train ran as Ordinary train (T-815) with non-reclining seats and cooling by fan. The departure as train T-816 was every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The train did not run on Saturdays. The trains meet at Gumaca. As of September 2013, all operations to the Bicol Region, including the Mayon Limited, have been suspended.
The Mayon Limited was hauled alternatively by French Alstom locomotives and General Electric locomotives, and ran northward from Legazpi railway station up the steep gradient leading to Camalig railway station in the foothills of the Mayon Volcano with another locomotive pushing from the rear. The Manila-Legazpi route was also served by the Mayon Limited service, using the Mayon Limited Special (Train T-577), the fastest and the most modern train of the Philippine National Railways operating on the South Main Line.
Although the Southern Luzon Intercity Services has occasionally operated in recent years, some of its branches are defunct such as the Batangas City Intercity railways. Efforts are underway to restore both services. Northern line intercity that once serviced by Amianan Express and the Dagupan Express has permanently ceased operation.
The Lucena Express was first operated between Malvar and Aloneros.
Prestige and Peñafrancia Express
The old Prestige service used Japanese-built, self-propelled coaches and was the only train not to be hauled by General Electric locomotives. It was frequently the first of the three express trains to arrive. With priority over all other trains on its route, and calling only at Daraga, Ligao, Naga, Lucena, and Paco. it normally arrived at the Tutuban railway station, Manila's central, making it a popular service with businessmen. The 48-seater air-conditioned coaches of the Prestige were somewhat narrower and lower than those built in Madras, which also contributed to the faster run.
During the management of Pete Nicomedes Prado from 1986 till 1991, the PNR inaugurated the Penafrancia Express between Manila and Naga. Train formations consisted of a GE Series 900 locomotive hauling a baggage car and several passenger coaches, both air con and regular. The airconditioned coaches had sleepers, de luxe coaches, and dining lounge coaches. Also used on Penafrancia Express trains were self-propelled commuter motor coaches from Japan, also using aircon as well as nonaircon coaches. Initially they were non-stop between Paco Station in Manila and Naga City itself, save for when the Penafrancia Express trains headed in opposite directions had to cross each other along the route in Quezon province. Later on, additional stops started getting added, mostly in the Bicol province of Camarines Sur with the train stopping in towns like Ragay, Sipocot, and Libmanan.
The Penafrancia Express trains also had airline style features, like piped in music, snacks, caterers, and stewardesses.
The PNR also operated several express services. Some of these services were discontinued for financial reasons. The first express service for Luzon was the Baguio Express, which operated from Manila via San Fabian, Pangasinan to Camp One, where the motor vehicles, namely the Stanley and De Dion steamers, of the Benguet Auto Line transport passengers proceeding to Baguio. Another express service was the Ilocos Express, which lasted until the 1980s. This began operating in 1930 and had a dining car with catering provided by the Manila Hotel. Following the modernization program of the Manila Railway Company in 1955, the Ilocos Express featured a 7A class "De Luxe" coach until 1979, when the lack of operable air-conditioned coaches caused a switch to a "Tourist"-class coach. The company also operated the Paniqui Express in the 1930s, but that was eclipsed by the Ilocos Express.
The fastest train operated by the PNR on the North Main Line was the Ilocos Special (Train 26) during the 1970s. This diesel multiple-unit (DMU) train took four hours to run the 195 kilometres between Manila and Dagupan City. The PNR also introduced the Amianan Day Express (Train 74) in February 1974 and the Amianan Night Express (Train 72), the last train to depart Manila for any destination on both lines. The Amianan Night Express ran faster than its day counterpart, the Amianan Day Express, making the 260-kilometre run to San Fernando City, La Union in five hours.
The PNR used to offer freight services, using General Electric U15C 900-series locomotives bought by the company in 1974. It is currently planned for a revival leading to the Manila South Harbor.
There was also a limited mobile hospital service.
The Philippine National Railways used to operate two different rail lines, namely the North Main Line and the South Main Line, along with the three spur lines, which served various parts of Luzon with its 138 (once) active stations.
All PNR stations were and are presently at-grade, using a side platform layout. Most have only basic amenities, platforms and ticket booths. Rehabilitated stations along the Metro Manila line have been fitted with ramps for passengers using wheelchairs. Several stations have extended platforms, having an upper platform catering to DMU services, and a lower platform for regular locomotive-hauled services.
Plans to rehabilitate and expand the railway network have been made by various administrations. South Korea and the People's Republic of China have offered to help rehabilitate the Philippine railway system, the former assisting with the rehabilitation and modernization of the South Main Line and the latter helping to finance, build, and operate a rationalized North Main Line service as well as helping to rehabilitate and modernize the South Main Line.
Southrail Project (Conventional Line)
The Korean-funded section covers the Southrail line from Manila to Calamba City, although present funding covers only the Southrail line from Caloocan City to Muntinlupa City, which serves as the Green Line-Orange Line connection. The Chinese-funded section covers the line from Calamba to Naga City and further on to Matnog, Sorsogon. The Korean-funded Southrail project was originally expected to cost some US$50 million but costs have risen to around $70–100 million. No figures have been released for the Chinese-funded portion of Southrail.
The Northrail project involved the upgrading of the existing single track to an elevated dual-track system, converting the rail gauge from narrow gauge to standard gauge, and linking Manila to Malolos City in Bulacan and further on to Angeles City, Clark Special Economic Zone and the Clark International Airport. This project was estimated to cost around US$500 million, with China offering to provide some US$400 million in concessionary financing. Preparatory construction began in early November 2006. Due to delays in the construction work, it was soon being renegotiated with the Chinese government. Construction temporarily continued in January 2009 with the support of the North Luzon Railways Corporation. Again, the project was cancelled in March 2011, due to a series of delays, work stoppages, a controversy and anomalies with the foreign contractor. The railway project was contracted out by the Arroyo administration in 2003 to China National Machinery and Equipment Corporation (CNMEC) for an original cost of $421 million. In 2009, CNMEC increased the contract price to $593 million, with the government agreeing to shoulder the difference. The government loaned $400 million from China’s Exim Bank to fund the project, with the balance sourced from the Development Bank of the Philippines. In 2011, the Aquino administration scrapped the project on lingering legal issues and corruption allegations. The Philippine Supreme Court handed down in March 2012 a decision giving a lower court the go-signal to hear the case calling for the annulment of the allegedly overpriced contract. Instead of settling the entire US$184 million due in 2012, the Department of Finance will pay Export-Import Bank of China 4 equal payments of $46 million starting September 2012. National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Arsenio Balisacan said the 80-kilometer Northrail project would resume within the term of President Benigno Aquino III.
The Department of Transportation and Communications has examined reviving the project by commissioning a feasibility study by CPCS Transcom Ltd. of Canada. Part of the study examined having a Malolos-Tutuban-Calamba-Los Baños Commuter Line.
Within February 2016, the PNR's planned freight comeback will start with a planned signing of a MOA between the railway and freight operator MRAIL for the rehabilitation of the rail lines to North Harbor and to restart the freight services starting 2017, which will also help reduce traffic congestion and truck use in the NCR. If completed, MRAIL will jointly operate the freight service with the PNR, which will end a long absence of railway freight services in the country.
Four types of rolling stock run on PNR's lines: the locomotives, the Commex express cars, baggage cars and DRC railcars. All services were operated by GE Universal Series locomotives and Hyundai Rotem DMUs. There were 14 locomotives, 18 (3 car trains, 6 sets total) Diesel Multiple Units, 2 baggage cars and 8 DRC railcars currently operating. Surplus sleeper coaches from Japan Railways were recently acquired by PNR, and were delivered on November 2010. More used rolling stock from Japan Railways was recently acquired by PNR, and arrived in 2011 which included some 203-series EMU, Kiha 52 and Kogane Train (Kiha 59).
|Rolling stock||General Electric Universal Series locomotives||Hyundai Rotem Diesel multiple units||Baggage cars||DRC railcars|
|In operation||14||18 (6 sets)||2||8|
|Support equipment||Rail Mounted Crane||Rail Mounted Crane||Rail Mounted Crane||-|
|Support equipment capacity||0.5 tonnes||30 tonnes||10 tonnes||-|
- Department of Transportation and Communications (Philippines)
- List of Philippine National Railways stations
- Panay Railways
- Rail transport in the Philippines
- Strong Republic Transit System
- "Trains & Schedules". Official Website. Philippine National Railways. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
Manila - Bicol trips are currently suspended. Please bear with us.
- "Sad saga of PNR". Inquirer.net. May 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "PNR plans to resume Bicol Express, DOTC orders rehab first". Balita.ph. May 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "Bicol Express News". Retrieved 2015-04-29.
Manila Bicol trips are currently suspended. Please bear with us.
- "Brief history of PNR". Philippine National Railways (February 27, 2009). Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- "Manila Railroad Company". National Register of Historic Sites & Structures in the Philippines. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Chapter I: Present Conditions". Report of Survey of the Manila Railroad Company and the Preliminary Survey of Railroads for Mindanao (Report). Chicago: De Leuw, Cather & Company. 1951. pp. 1–12.
- Maragay, Fel V. (December 15, 2005). "Rehab of busy railway". Manila Standard Today. Archived from the original on July 21, 2006. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- Olchondra, Riza T. (April 22, 2007). "PNR rail rehabilitation to start September". Philippine Daily Inquirer (Manila). Retrieved April 28, 2010.
The Philippine National Railways (PNR) will start repairing and improving its North and South railways by September, PNR General Manager Jose Ma. Sarasola II said Friday.
- Escandor Jr., Juan; Caudilla, Pons (September 18, 2009). "Bicol train chugs to a halt in test run". Philippine Daily Inquirer (Manila). Retrieved April 29, 2010.
The spirit was willing, but the diesel-fed old engines were not.
- "Metro Commuter". Philippine National Railways. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
- "PNR to resume Bicol Express in Sept.". GMA News Online. May 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "Mayon Limited resumes Bicol run". Philippine National Railways Press Release (Manila). Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "Mayon Limited". Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "South Manila Commuter Rail Project, Phase 1". National Economic and Development Authority. Retrieved August 28, 2006.
- "South Manila Commuter Rail Project, Phase 1". National Economic and Development Authority. Retrieved August 28, 2006.
- "RP, China break ground for Manila-Ilocos railway". Malaya. April 6, 2004.
- "De Castro bats for hiring of squatters for NorthRail project". Philippine Daily Inquirer (Makati City). November 6, 2006.
- "U.P. study finds North Rail contract illegal, disadvantageous to government". The PCIJ Blog. September 9, 2005. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "PNR Company Profile". Philippine National Railways. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
- 日本の中古電車に熱視線 ９月に引退した通勤車両、フィリピンで第二の人生 [Commuter trains retired in September to live a second life in the Philippines]. Sankei News (in Japanese). Japan: The Sankei Shimbun & Sankei Digital. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- Uranza, Rogelio. (2002). The Role of Traffic Engineering and Management in Metro Manila. Workshop paper presented in the Regional Workshop: Transport Planning, Demand Management and Air Quality, February 2002, Manila, Philippines. Asian Development Bank (ADB).
- World Bank (May 23, 2001). "Project Appraisal Document for the Metro Manila Urban Transport Integration Project" (PDF). World Bank.
- Japan International Cooperation Agency Official Page "Revitalization of Main Line South Project(1989)"
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