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PNR’s NCR line to close by January

MANILA, Philippines, October 21 ----- The Philippine National Railways (PNR) will cease all of its passenger services in Metro Manila by January 2024 to give way to the civil works for the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR). PNR general manager Jeremy Regino told reporters that the agency will shut its daily operations between Alabang and Tutuban by the middle of January 2024. Regino said the closure of PNR services in Metro Manila will affect as many as 35,000 Filipinos who travel on the rail line daily for its cheap cost.

As such, the PNR is asking the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to increase bus availability in the affected routes. The LTFRB is expected to award these special franchises soon to bus operators serving the areas along the PNR line. Further, the PNR will transfer some of the train sets that will be left grounded by the closure of Metro Manila services to Southern Tagalog and Bicol Region. Several PNR lines down the south will be reopened by December once the repair of bridges and tracks are completed.

In particular, the PNR will resume passenger services from Calamba, Laguna to Legazpi, Albay, a stretch that runs for more than 400 kilometers. One of the first routes that the PNR will reopen is the line from Naga, Camarines Sur to Legazpi, adding to the existing services between Naga and Ligao, Albay. “The rolling stock plying the route here in Metro Manila will now ply the routes from Calamba to Legazpi. In other words, there will also be benefits to the stoppage of operations here in Metro Manila. In fact, we are targeting that by December we will be able to open the Naga to Legazpi route,” Regino said. The closure of PNR tracks should give contractors building the NSCR the elbow room to deliver the project without much disruption.

The NSCR, funded by Japan, will connect New Clark City with Calamba through a rail line running for about 147 kilometers. For the year, the government plans to spend at least P70 billion for the acquisition of right of way and payment to contractors and consultants of NSCR. Transportation Assistant Secretary Jorjette Aquino said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has disbursed around 54 percent of the budget as of June. All in all, the NSCR is estimated to cost P873.62 billion and it will feature commuter and airport services once completed.



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