Philippine National Railways
Overview
 
The Philippine National Railways , or PNR, is a state-owned
Government-owned corporation
A government-owned corporation, state-owned company, state-owned entity, state enterprise, publicly owned corporation, government business enterprise, or parastatal is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government...

 railway company
Railway company
A railway company or railroad company is an entity that operates a railroad track and/or trains. Such a company can either be private or public...

 in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, operating a single line of track on Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

. As of 2010, it operates one commuter rail service in Metro Manila
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

 and a second in the Bicol Region
Bicol Region
The Bicol Region or Bicolandia is one of the 17 regions of the Philippines. Its regional center is Legazpi City...

. PNR restored its intercity service to the Bicol region in 2011. The Bicol Express runs on a daily basis between Manila and Naga.Bicol Express Train, PNR's Facebook page.
Encyclopedia
The Philippine National Railways , or PNR, is a state-owned
Government-owned corporation
A government-owned corporation, state-owned company, state-owned entity, state enterprise, publicly owned corporation, government business enterprise, or parastatal is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government...

 railway company
Railway company
A railway company or railroad company is an entity that operates a railroad track and/or trains. Such a company can either be private or public...

 in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, operating a single line of track on Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

. As of 2010, it operates one commuter rail service in Metro Manila
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

 and a second in the Bicol Region
Bicol Region
The Bicol Region or Bicolandia is one of the 17 regions of the Philippines. Its regional center is Legazpi City...

. PNR restored its intercity service to the Bicol region in 2011. The Bicol Express runs on a daily basis between Manila and Naga.Bicol Express Train, PNR's Facebook page. Retrieved November 4, 2011.

PNR began operations on June 26, 1875 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 479 km (298 mi) of route from La Union
La Unión
La Union or La Unión may refer to:-Colombia:*La Unión, Antioquia*La Unión, Nariño*La Unión, Sucre*La Unión, Valle del Cauca-Peru:*La Unión Province, Peru...

 up to Bicol
Bicol Region
The Bicol Region or Bicolandia is one of the 17 regions of the Philippines. Its regional center is Legazpi City...

. 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
Typhoon Xangsane
The name Xangsane has been used to name two tropical cyclones in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The name was contributed by Laos and is a Laotian word for elephant.* 2000's Typhoon Xangsane - affected the Philippines and Taiwan....

 and Reming
Typhoon Durian
Typhoon Durian was an intense storm that wreaked havoc in the Philippines, causing massive loss of life when mudslides from the Mayon Volcano buried many villages...

 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
Rolling stock
Rolling stock comprises all the vehicles that move on a railway. It usually includes both powered and unpowered vehicles, for example locomotives, railroad cars, coaches and wagons...

.

History

On June 25, 1875, under a royal decree issued by King Alfonso XII
Alfonso XII of Spain
Alfonso XII was king of Spain, reigning from 1874 to 1885, after a coup d'état restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic.-Early life and paternity:Alfonso was the son of Queen Isabella II of Spain, and...

 of Spain, the required Inspector of Public Works of the Philippine Islands was requested to submit a railway system plan for Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of 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
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 to Dagupan
Dagupan City
The City of Dagupan is a 1st class city in the Philippines. It is an independent component city of the province of Pangasinan. According to the latest census, Dagupan City has a population of 149,554 people in 25,921 households. Located on Lingayen Gulf on the island of Luzon, Dagupan is the...

 was granted to Don Edmundo Sykes of the Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan on June 1, 1887.

The Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan which constitutes much of the North Main Line today, began construction in July 1887 with the laying of the cornerstone for Tutuban station
Tutuban railway station
Tutuban station is the main train station of the Philippine National Railways and the main train station of the city of Manila in the Philippines...

. The railway was 195 kilometers long at the time of its opening on November 24, 1892, running from Manila to Dagupan City in Pangasinan
Pangasinan
Pangasinan is a province of the Republic of the Philippines. The provincial capital is Lingayen. Pangasinan is located on the west central and peripheral area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf, with the total land area being 5,368.82 square kilometers . According to the latest census,...

.

The maiden voyage of the Bicol Express was on September 13, 1931. The track from Dagupan to Legaspi was completely connected on May 8, 1938.

Later the Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan became the Manila Railway Company.
It was nationalized and its assets were acquired by the Philippine government, which expanded the rail network, only to have most of those improvements lost during World War II. Of the 1,140 route-kilometers before the war, only 452 route-kilometers were operational after it. The extensive damage to the system took several years to repair. During the 1950s the Manila Rail Company fleet of trains was converted from steam to diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

s. The Manila Rail Company was given a new charter under Republic Act No. 4156, and the company changed its name to 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
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 issued Executive Order No. 546, which designated the Philippine National Railways as an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications
Department of Transportation and Communications (Philippines)
The Department of Transportation and Communications is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for the maintenance and expansion of viable, efficient, and dependable transportation and communications systems as effective instruments for national recovery and economic...

. In 1988, during the administration of Corazon Aquino
Corazon Aquino
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines...

, the North Main Line was closed, with trains unable to reach various provinces
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

 in the country. Even the South Rail was also closed due to typhoons and floods, and the eruption of Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active volcano in the province of Albay, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Renowned as the "perfect cone" because of its almost symmetric conical shape, Mayon forms the northern boundary of Legazpi City, the largest city in terms of...

 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
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a Filipino politician who served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, as the 12th Vice President of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, and is currently a member of the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District of Pampanga...

 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 track with newer 50-kilogram 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
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

, were completed in 2009. On July 14, 2009, Philippine President
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a Filipino politician who served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, as the 12th Vice President of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, and is currently a member of the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District of Pampanga...

 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
Naga City
The City of Naga is a first class independent component city in the Philippines...

 plus a return trip back to the terminus on July 1. This inaugural trip was marred by the collapse of the embankment at Malaguico. 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.

Rolling stock

Four types of rolling stock
Rolling stock
Rolling stock comprises all the vehicles that move on a railway. It usually includes both powered and unpowered vehicles, for example locomotives, railroad cars, coaches and wagons...

 run on PNR's lines: the locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

s, the Commex express cars, baggage car
Baggage car
A baggage car or luggage van is a type of railway vehicle often forming part of the composition of passenger trains and used to carry passengers' checked baggage, as well as parcels . Being typically coupled at the front of the train behind the locomotive, this type of car is sometimes described...

s and DRC railcar
DRC railcar
The DRC was a class of railmotor operated by the Victorian Railways on the country rail network Victoria, Australia. The cars were built by Tulloch Limited in New South Wales and featured stainless steel construction, air-conditioning, and a diesel hydraulic transmission.-History:The first...

s. All services were operated by General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 locomotives and DMUs. There were 14 locomotives, 18 Commex express cars, 2 baggage car
Baggage car
A baggage car or luggage van is a type of railway vehicle often forming part of the composition of passenger trains and used to carry passengers' checked baggage, as well as parcels . Being typically coupled at the front of the train behind the locomotive, this type of car is sometimes described...

s and 8 DRC railcar
DRC railcar
The DRC was a class of railmotor operated by the Victorian Railways on the country rail network Victoria, Australia. The cars were built by Tulloch Limited in New South Wales and featured stainless steel construction, air-conditioning, and a diesel hydraulic transmission.-History:The first...

s 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 are set to arrive in 2011.
Rolling stock General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 locomotives
Diesel multiple unit
Diesel multiple unit
A diesel multiple unit or DMU is a multiple unit train consisting of multiple carriages powered by one or more on-board diesel engines. They may also be referred to as a railcar or railmotor, depending on country.-Design:...

s
Baggage car
Baggage car
A baggage car or luggage van is a type of railway vehicle often forming part of the composition of passenger trains and used to carry passengers' checked baggage, as well as parcels . Being typically coupled at the front of the train behind the locomotive, this type of car is sometimes described...

s
DRC railcar
DRC railcar
The DRC was a class of railmotor operated by the Victorian Railways on the country rail network Victoria, Australia. The cars were built by Tulloch Limited in New South Wales and featured stainless steel construction, air-conditioning, and a diesel hydraulic transmission.-History:The first...

s
In operation 14 18 2 8
Support equipment Rail Mounted Crane Rail Mounted Crane Rail Mounted Crane -
Support equipment capacity .5 tons 30 tons 10 tons -

Operations and services

The PNR currently operates in the Manila metropolitan area
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

 and the provinces
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

 of Laguna, Quezon
Quezon
-History:Originally, what now forms Quezon was divided among the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, and Nueva Ecija. The area was first explored by Juan de Salcedo in 1571-1572, during his expedition from Laguna to Camarines provinces....

, Camarines Sur
Camarines Sur
Camarines Sur is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Pili and the province borders Camarines Norte and Quezon to the north, and Albay to the south...

. In the past, the PNR also used to serve the provinces of Bulacan
Bulacan
Bulacan , officially called the Province of Bulacan or simply Bulacan Province, is a first class province of the Republic of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon Region in the island of Luzon, north of Manila , and part of the Metro...

, Pampanga
Pampanga
Pampanga is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Pampanga is bordered by the provinces of Bataan and Zambales to the west, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija to the north, and Bulacan to the southeast...

, Tarlac
Tarlac
Tarlac is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Luzon Island. Its capital is Tarlac City. Tarlac borders Pampanga to the south, Nueva Ecija to the east, Pangasinan to the north, and Zambales to the west...

, Nueva Ecija
Nueva Ecija
Nueva Ecija is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is Palayan City...

, Pangasinan
Pangasinan
Pangasinan is a province of the Republic of the Philippines. The provincial capital is Lingayen. Pangasinan is located on the west central and peripheral area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf, with the total land area being 5,368.82 square kilometers . According to the latest census,...

 and La Union
La Unión
La Union or La Unión may refer to:-Colombia:*La Unión, Antioquia*La Unión, Nariño*La Unión, Sucre*La Unión, Valle del Cauca-Peru:*La Unión Province, Peru...

 on the North Main Line, and Albay
Albay
Albay is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Legazpi City and the province borders Camarines Sur to the north and Sorsogon to the south. Also to the northeast is Lagonoy Gulf....

 and Batangas
Batangas
Batangas is a first class province of the Philippines located on the southwestern part of Luzon in the CALABARZON region. Its capital is Batangas City and it is bordered by the provinces of Cavite and Laguna to the north and Quezon to the east. Across the Verde Island Passages to the south is the...

 on the South Main Line.

Passenger services

Commuter Express

The Commuter Express (also Metro Commuter), commonly called the Commex, serves as the commuter rail service for the Manila metropolitan area
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

, extending as far south as Calamba City
Calamba City
Calamba City is a first class component city located in the province of Laguna, Philippines. Situated only 54 kilometers south of Manila, about an hour by chartered bus, Calamba City is a popular tourist destination with its hot spring resorts, most of the resorts are located in Barangay Pansol...

, Laguna. The PNR uses GE locomotives hauling Commex passenger cars, as well as newly-procured Hyundai Rotem DMUs, for this service.

Commex service using the new DMUs is currently offered between Tutuban
Tutuban railway station
Tutuban station is the main train station of the Philippine National Railways and the main train station of the city of Manila in the Philippines...

 and Alabang
Alabang railway station
Alabang Station is a station on the South Main Line of the Philippine National Railways. Like all PNR stations, this station is at grade. The station is located on T...

 in Muntinlupa City
Muntinlupa City
The City of Muntinlupa is the southernmost city in Philippine National Capital Region. It is bordered on the north by Taguig City; to the northwest by Parañaque City; by Las Piñas City to the west; to the southwest by the city of Bacoor, Cavite; by the city of San Pedro, Laguna; and by Laguna de...

, while a daily Commex run between Manila and Biñan City, Laguna runs using GE locomotives. Currently, Commex trains make 50 daily trips, 25 in each direction.

Bicol Commuter

The Bicol Commuter service is a commuter rail service in the Bicol Region, between stations in Tagkawayan
Tagkawayan, Quezon
Tagkawayan is a 1st class municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 46,878 people.-Barangays:Tagkawayan is politically subdivided into 45 barangays with a total land area of 64,100 hectares....

, Quezon
Quezon
-History:Originally, what now forms Quezon was divided among the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, and Nueva Ecija. The area was first explored by Juan de Salcedo in 1571-1572, during his expedition from Laguna to Camarines provinces....

 and Ligao City
Ligao City
Ligao City is a 4th class city in the province of Albay, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 101,179 people in 17,031 households. Ligao City is strategically located in the heart of the Third District of Albay...

, Albay
Albay
Albay is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Legazpi City and the province borders Camarines Sur to the north and Sorsogon to the south. Also to the northeast is Lagonoy Gulf....

, with Naga City in Camarines Sur
Camarines Sur
Camarines Sur is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Pili and the province borders Camarines Norte and Quezon to the north, and Albay to the south...

 acting as a central terminus. The service was launched on September 16, 2009, in time for the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia
Our Lady of Peñafrancia
Our Lady of Peñafrancia is a wooden statue of virgin mary originally came from Salamanca, Spain. Tens of thousands of pilgrims, devotees, tourists come to Naga City, Philippines every September for a nine-day festivities in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the Patroness of Bicol, endearingly...

. The trains make seven trips a day, alternating between Tagkawayan, Sipocot
Sipocot, Camarines Sur
Sipocot is a 1st class municipality in the province of Camarines Sur, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 57,861 people.- Geography :Notable hills include:* Susong Daraga Hill, located at Brgy...

, Naga and Ligao as the terminus. Five trips run using a Commuter Express DMU, while two trips use GE locomotives.

Bicol Express

The PNR has been working for some years on restoring this intercity service. On May 22, 2011, a test run from Tutuban to Naga proved successful. are set to resume on June 29, 2011, with an inaugural run to Naga from Tutuban. A return trip from Naga to Manila was also successful. After this success, Bicol Express was reintroduced on a daily basis. A trip takes approximately 10 hours, the train travels mostly during night time.

Intercity services

Three trains traveled between Manila and southern Luzon before all intercity service was suspended in 2006 because of damage by Typhoon Xangsane
Typhoon Xangsane
The name Xangsane has been used to name two tropical cyclones in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The name was contributed by Laos and is a Laotian word for elephant.* 2000's Typhoon Xangsane - affected the Philippines and Taiwan....

 (Milenyo): the Mayon Limited, the Peñafrancia Express (previously the Prestige) and the Bicol Express. Prior to the 1970s and 1980s, several trains served points north of Manila, most notably the Ilocos Special and the Dagupan Express.
Mayon Limited

The Mayon Limited was hauled alternatively by French Alsthom locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

s and General Electric locomotives, and ran northward from Legaspi railway station up the steep gradient leading to Camalig railway station in the foothills of the Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active volcano in the province of Albay, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Renowned as the "perfect cone" because of its almost symmetric conical shape, Mayon forms the northern boundary of Legazpi City, the largest city in terms of...

 with another locomotive pushing from the rear. The Manila-Legaspi route was also served by the Mayon Limited service, using the Mayon Limited Special (Train T-577), the fastest train operating on the South Main Line.
Prestige and Peñafrancia Express

The old Prestige used Japanese-built self-propelled coaches and was the only train
Train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...

 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
Daraga, Albay
Daraga is a 1st class municipality in the province of Albay, Philippines.According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 110,625 people in 20,082 households.-History:February 1, 1814 was Mayon's deadliest eruption....

, Ligao
Ligao City
Ligao City is a 4th class city in the province of Albay, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 101,179 people in 17,031 households. Ligao City is strategically located in the heart of the Third District of Albay...

, Naga, Lucena
Lucena City
Metro Lucena has an estimated population of 700,000 which is mostly concentrated in the flat south-central portion of Quezon, which includes the cities of Lucena and Tayabas, Sariaya, Candelaria, Lucban & Pagbilao . The people are often characterized as friendly and hardworking...

, and Paco
Paco, Manila
Paco, is a district of Manila, Philippines. It is located south of Pasig River, and San Miguel, west of Santa Ana, southwest of Pandacan, north of Malate, northwest of San Andres, and east of Ermita. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 64,184 people in 13,438 households...

, it normally arrived in Tutuban railway station, Manila's Grand 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.

The Peñafrancia Express, a similar service which served as the replacement for the Prestige service, ran the same self-propelled Japanese coaches. The Peñafrancia Express called at Naga, Lopez
Lopez, Quezon
Lopez is a 1st class municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. It is located in the southern part of the province, 220 kilometers away from Manila, 83 kilometers away from Lucena City, 25 kilometers to Camarines Norte, 3 nautical kilometers to Alabat Island and bordered by the...

, Pagbilao
Pagbilao, Quezon
Pagbilao is a 1st class municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 62,561 people. It is located on the northern shore of Tayabas Bay on Luzon, just east of Lucena City, the provincial capital....

, San Pablo City
San Pablo City
The City of San Pablo , a first class city in the province of Laguna, Philippines, is one of the country's oldest cities. The City of San Pablo lies in the southern portion of Laguna province...

 and Sampaloc
Sampaloc, Manila
Sampaloc is a district of Manila which is primarily a residential and educational center. Part of the Malacañang Palace is located in Sampaloc. The University of Santo Tomas, University of the East Manila are part of the University Belt to name a few, the famous Dangwa flower market at Dimasalang...

. The Peñafrancia service ran at a lower speed than the Prestige did.
Express services

The PNR also operated several express services. Some of these services were discontinued for financial reasons. The first express service for Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

 was the Baguio Express, which operated from Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 via San Fabian
San Fabián
San Fabián is one of 21 communes in the Ñuble Province of central Chile's Biobío Region. The capital is the town of San Fabián de Alico. The commune spans an area of .-Administration:...

, Pangasinan
Pangasinan
Pangasinan is a province of the Republic of the Philippines. The provincial capital is Lingayen. Pangasinan is located on the west central and peripheral area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf, with the total land area being 5,368.82 square kilometers . According to the latest census,...

 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
Manila Hotel
The Manila Hotel is a 570-room, five star hotel in Manila, Philippines, located in the heart of the Manila Bay area. The Manila Hotel is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines, built in 1909 to rival Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines, and opened in...

. 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 DMU train took four hours to run the 195 kilometres between Manila and Dagupan
Dagupan City
The City of Dagupan is a 1st class city in the Philippines. It is an independent component city of the province of Pangasinan. According to the latest census, Dagupan City has a population of 149,554 people in 25,921 households. Located on Lingayen Gulf on the island of Luzon, Dagupan is the...

. In addition to these express trains, the PNR 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 runs faster than its day counterpart, the Amianan Day Express, making the 260-kilometre run to San Fernando City
San Fernando City, La Union
The City of San Fernando in La Union is a 1st class component city in the Philippines. It is the capital city of La Union and the regional center of the Ilocos Region...

, La Union in five hours. Another express service was the Bicol Express, which has operated since 1938. Like the Amianan express service, the Bicol Express has two express services: the Bicol Day Express (Train No. T-511) and the Bicol Night Express (Train No. T-515). The Isarog Express, operating from Manila to Naga City
Naga City
The City of Naga is a first class independent component city in the Philippines...

, also has two express services, the Isarog Day Express (Train T-521) and the Isarog Night Express (Train T-519).

The PNR used to offer freight services, using General Electric U15C 900-series locomotives bought by the company in 1974. There was also a limited mobile hospital service.

Stations

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
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

 with its 127 (once) active stations.

Station layout

All PNR stations were and are presently at-grade
At-grade intersection
An at-grade intersection is a junction at which two or more transport axes cross at the same level .-Traffic management:With areas of high or fast traffic, an at-grade intersection normally requires a traffic control device such as a stop sign, traffic light or railway signal to manage conflicting...

, using a side platform
Side platform
A Side platform is a platform positioned to the side of a pair of tracks at a railway station, a tram stop or a transitway. A pair of side platforms are often provided on a dual track line with a single side platform being sufficient for a single track line...

 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.

Future plans

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. The Korean-funded section covers the Southrail line from Manila to Calamba City
Calamba City
Calamba City is a first class component city located in the province of Laguna, Philippines. Situated only 54 kilometers south of Manila, about an hour by chartered bus, Calamba City is a popular tourist destination with its hot spring resorts, most of the resorts are located in Barangay Pansol...

, although present funding covers only the Southrail line from Caloocan City
Caloocan City
The City of Caloocan is one of the cities and municipalities that comprises the Metro Manila region in the Philippines. It is a major residential area inside Metro Manila...

 to Muntinlupa City
Muntinlupa City
The City of Muntinlupa is the southernmost city in Philippine National Capital Region. It is bordered on the north by Taguig City; to the northwest by Parañaque City; by Las Piñas City to the west; to the southwest by the city of Bacoor, Cavite; by the city of San Pedro, Laguna; and by Laguna de...

, which serves as the Green Line-Orange Line connection. The Chinese-funded section covers the line from Calamba to Legazpi and further on to Matnog, Sorsogon
Matnog, Sorsogon
Matnog is a 4th class municipality in the province of Sorsogon, Philippines. It lies at the southernmost tip of the island of Luzon.Local elders say that the name Matnog comes from the word "matonog" - that describes to the loud sound of the waves...

. 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 present-day single track to an elevated dual-track system, converting the rail gauge
Rail gauge
Track gauge or rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the heads of the two load bearing rails that make up a single railway line. Sixty percent of the world's railways use a standard gauge of . Wider gauges are called broad gauge; smaller gauges, narrow gauge. Break-of-gauge refers...

 from narrow gauge
Narrow gauge
A narrow gauge railway is a railway that has a track gauge narrower than the of standard gauge railways. Most existing narrow gauge railways have gauges of between and .- Overview :...

 to standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

, and linking Manila to Malolos City
Malolos City
City of Malolos is a 3rd class urban component city in the Republic of the Philippines. Malolos is considered as the 115th city in the country. It is the capital city of the province of Bulacan as the seat of the provincial government...

 in Bulacan
Bulacan
Bulacan , officially called the Province of Bulacan or simply Bulacan Province, is a first class province of the Republic of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon Region in the island of Luzon, north of Manila , and part of the Metro...

 and further on to Angeles City
Angeles City
The City of Angeles , located within the province of Pampanga in the Philippines, is locally classified as a first-class, highly-urbanized city. Its name is derived from El Pueblo de los Ángeles in honor of its patron saints, Los Santos Ángeles de los Custodios , and the name of its founder, Don...

 and the Clark Special Economic Zone, as well as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport
Diosdado Macapagal International Airport
Diosdado Macapagal International Airport , also called Clark International Airport , is the main airport serving the immediate vicinity of the Clark Freeport Zone and the general area of Angeles City in the Philippines...

. This project is estimated to cost around US$500 million, with China providing some US$400 million in concessionary financing, since much of the right-of-way on Northrail will be brand new. Construction began in early November 2006. and was expected to have been operational in 2010. Due to delays in the construction work, it is currently 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 2009, due to a series of delays, work stoppages, a controversy and anomalies with the foreign contractor.

Further reading



See also

  • Department of Transportation and Communications
    Department of Transportation and Communications (Philippines)
    The Department of Transportation and Communications is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for the maintenance and expansion of viable, efficient, and dependable transportation and communications systems as effective instruments for national recovery and economic...

  • Rail transport in the Philippines
    Rail transport in the Philippines
    Rail transport in the Philippines is a growing means of transportation for passengers and cargo in the country. Such means of transportation are used typically for rapid transport within major cites as well as long distance travel...

  • Strong Republic Transit System
    Strong Republic Transit System
    The Strong Republic Transit System was launched to integrate the various rail lines providing public transport in Manila in the Philippines. The program was initiated by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 14, 2003...


External links

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