LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 18 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Railways (PNR) opened on Friday its Naga-Legazpi commuter train service, engineer Jose M. Florece, PNR division manager, said.
The inaugural train run started at about 1 p.m. on Friday at the PNR Naga station,which was graced by Camarines Sur Rep. Leni G. Robredo as guest of honor.
The train service will have two newly-refurbished air-conditioned coaches that can accommodate 300 passengers per trip, Florece said.
The train service, with PHP100 fare, would have a daily trip leaving Naga station at 5 a.m and a return trip from Legazpi station at 5 p.m. The train run from NAGA to Legazpi, would take about two-and-a-half hours, with regular stops at the PNR stations in Iriga City, Polangui, Ligao City, Guinobatan, Daraga and Legazpi City.
During the ceremonial trip, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing of the stations was held as the train service reached every designated train station, led by the respective town and city mayors.
At the opening, Robredo was assisted by Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Miguel Villafuerte and Naga City Mayor John Bongat.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, the concurrent Regional Development Council (RDC) chairperson, said he has been closely working out with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) the resumption of train service in Bicol.
Salceda said the opening of the commuter train service was in time for the region's celebration of the feast of the Virgin of Peñafrancia.
Salceda said the rail transport is the cheapest, and that the resumption of the train service would boost the trade, tourism and passenger choice.
He said passengers going to this city and Naga would have the options to take either the bus, UV express or the train.
The train ride offers a different and distinctive perspective of the countryside as passengers would enjoy viewing Mayon volcano surrounded by the greenery of Bicol farmlands, he said. The train service in Bicol had been stopped for almost a decade after a typhoon "Reming" in 2006 damaged its rails and literally stopped the train in its tracks. (PNA) LAP/BNB/FGS/MSA/CBD/SGP