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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Places and Events : Bicol Express Now Reaches Albay

Finally, we have an operational train system ( again ) in the Philippnes! Although limited only to Bicol, this is still  a very good news. Earlier this year I heard they were already testing the trains and the railway tracks to Bicol . It was even on the news because during the  run test  a train stalled due to old and rusty tracks before reaching Naga City.  My relatives used to tell me that they used to take a train going to the North, up to Damortis in La Union. I remember that as far back as three years ago they were already rehabilitating the railway tracks going to the North. How come the train going there isn't operational yet?

I think we are the only country in Asia that doesn't use train as the main transportation mode for commuters and cargoes. Is it because we are an archipelago? I noticed that all former British colonies ( India, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.) in Asia have good train systems. Is it because of the Americans then? But they have a very good train system in the US? We should have had a decent train system for Luzon and Mindanao Islands a long time ago. I hope that someday all the main islands in the country will be inter-connected by a train system, from Aparri to Jolo. That will be the day. . . .
Here's  the good news :
A PNR train with Mayon Volcano at the background
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (Dec 11, 2011) – After the successful revival of its Manila-Naga route back in July this year, the Bicol Express can now reach the province of Albay down south.
A test train travel, which the Philippine National Railways (PNR) called an “explorer run,”  started at Tutuban Central Station at 10:05 P.M. Wednesday  (Dec 7) and ended at Ligao City Thursday (Dec 8) for a total travel time of 12 and a half hours, more than two hours past the advertised 10-hour travel time.
Constancio Toledano, PNR area manager, said railway lines were  spruced up so the train could reach the City of Ligao in Albay where the train’s arrival  was met by elated residents.
A minor landslide along the route and the presence of modified wooden trolley carts that ply the same railway track frequently caused the train to slow down and miss the target 10 hours total travel time at 110 kph speed.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and PNR General Manager Junio Ragrario were among the 50 VIP passengers that also included Albay provincial legislators, other government officials and members of the media.
“The return of the Bicol Express means a lot to Bicolanos, especially with the rising toll rates at the South Luzon Expressway,”  Gov. Salceda said.    
PNR sources said that regular train trips to Albay shall start in January  next year after the complete repair of an important bridge in Guinobatan town, which when fully passable will enable “Bicol Express” to reach the towns of Camalig and Daraga and the city of Legazpi further down south.
Gov. Salceda likes train trips that goes all the way down to Albay to ratain the old 1960s name “Mayon Limited Express,” while expressing his optimism that the full resumption of train services shall spark increased economic activity between the the Bicol region and the Calabarzon-MetroManila areas.
A satisfactory train service shall also boost local trade and tourism, the governor added.
Bicol Express coaches offer unobstructed view of the Bicol’s jewel, Mount Mayon.
In a  statement the PNR said “the resumption of the Bicol trips closes the loop linking the North and South Rail project,” expressing optimism that its passenger base shall increase from the 400,000 a month to 600,000, needing more train departures per day.
PNR added that the refurbished coaches from Japan offer comfort to passengers with first class, sleeper and economy coaches, as well as coaches for dining and cargo.

Thanks to Mr. Jeck Benavidez for sharing this good news.
Source  :


  1. Magkano kaya pamasahe nito? It's been 6 years nung last ako nagBicol. Would be nice to come back again.

    1. Hi Ms. A the ticket one way to naga city is about P660+.

  2. i want to use the train in summer, may this year. You think it wil be ready? Where to start, where to get ticket? Are there interesting stop-overs?

    1. Hi Mr. Schucke, I asked a friend from Bicol who recently used the train and said that you can buy the tickets at Pasong Tamo Station in Makati and in Naga City Station in Naga. As of last month, the train has regular trips only up to Naga City, the trip to Legazpi,Albay is still in on test. Anyway, here are two numbers of Philippine National Railways where you can inquire on their services : 02-3190044 or 02-4802059. thanks for your comment.