Believe it or not! I was inside the PNR (Philippine National Railways) Bicol Express Train. It was my first long distance travel by train in my own country with a distance of 400 kms from Manila to Naga City in Bicol. The legendary PNR train of the Philippines was relaunched back in September of 2011.

NAGA TRAIN STATION

For a long period of time, I only heard from my grandparents that PNR train was a popular transport in the hay days for the Southern Luzon folks who traveled long distance to Manila. PNR railways however have been neglected after the World War II. Neglect made the train networks looked battered and so its cars. The train of the past became unpopular as the government shifted to building expressways and highways.

In 2011, the government relaunched its operations with refurbished imported cars from Korea. It was a new look for me. An adapted second hand or “ukay-ukay” trains from foreign countries was a good try.  Though it was not my first time to travel long distance by train, my very  first long distance travel was from Malaysia to Singapore back in 2010.

What was the speed of PNR Bicol Express on its launching in 2011?

  • It had an average speed of 40 kph

How much time did it take from Manila to Naga?

  • 10 hours

How much was the Train fare from Manila to Naga?

  • P 647 for cabin 1st class
  • P 380 for economy

Was the train stability smooth?

  • The car/train was shaky due to poor railways. The car/train was running on locomotive engine and so the noise and unwanted car/train imbalances were prevalent.

Is the PNR Bicol Express still operational this Year  (2019)?

  • The train service that was running from Tutuban in Manila to Legaspi City in Albay, stopped operations in 2012
PNR 1ST CLASS CABIN

The Philippine National Railway’s Commuter Train that travels from Tutuban to Alabang is a must-try for ALL TOURISTS. You simply have not visited the Philippines if you did not try to ride the PNR Train this 2019. 🙂

If you want to experience the true-to-life daily commute of the ordinary Filipinos, then PNR Train is of the best commuting experience you can have in visiting our country.  The bumpy and shaky feel as you traverse the metropolitan from North to South is the selling point of this train ride experience. You do not have to go to theme park for a roller coaster and pay a hefty price. For only P15, train experience of a lifetime is waiting for you.

If I am going to sugarcoat of what you can expect, then I must be fooling myself to blog about the train experience. This is not a sarcasm. Filipinos, in general,  are friendly and so no matter how jam-packed the train is, there are abundance of smiling faces all over. 🙂 It is always “More Fun in the Philippines”! Nevertheless, we cannot underestimate its historical significance because Philippines was once the leading country in Southeast Asia that had the most advanced train network in the early 1900.

So take a ride now as it might change in the coming years. PNR administration has already ordered brand new Trains from Indonesia and is expected to be delivered in the Philippines by 2020. The PNR as we know today might completely change in the years to come. 🙂

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