LEGAZPI CITY (26 Dec. 2011) – Bicolanos, particularly the people of Albay, feel doubly blessed and happy this Christmas season with the restoration of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Manila-Albay train connection not only for the travel convenience it offers but also for the livelihood opportunities it offers.
Denominated as Mayon Limited, the new name suggested by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, instead of Bicol Express as it was known before it was decommission five years ago, the restored PNR train service now daily runs the stretch between Tutuban in Manila to Polangui town in Albay.
Salceda, who helped in ‘reconnecting’ Albay with the railways network, said Mayon Limited brings back the glory days of the old Bicol Express and offers an alternative, safe and cheaper mode of transport. Albayanos have closely identified themselves with the PNR trains.
The governor, who hails from Polangui town, said he himself had traveled via the old PNR trains many times when he was a student in Manila because it was fast, cheap and safe. His parents even used it to send him his monthly allowance through friends and kin working at PNR.
The resumption of the PNR train service, Salceda said, now compliments and boost the now busy modes of transportation serving Albay, including the four daily airplane flights to and from Manila and the various bus companies servicing the Manila–Albay route daily.
Legazpi City, Albay’s provincial capital, is the regional center of the Bicol Region, hence its demand for varied transport systems.
Salceda, who also chairs the Bicol Regional Development Council, has initiated various transport projects in the region including the P3.4-billion Bicol International Airport in Alobo, Daraga town which is now under construction; and the RoRo service in nearby Pioduran town which serves as another Bicol gateway to the Visayas.
These projects are sure to spur more economic activities and contribute to business and tourism growth in Albay, he stressed. Albayanos have started small ventures catering to its passengers.
PNR’s Mayon Limited uses newly refurbished Japan-made train coaches, three of which are air-conditioned and can accommodate 81 passengers in reclining and movable cushioned seats. It could navigate the railroad tracks at a maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour.
Mayon Limited initially service the Tutuban-Polangui stretch. Its route will shortly extend up to Ligao City, and will reach Legazpi City by the first quarter of 2012.
Fare is P700 per passenger for the Manila-Polangui stretch and will be P750 up to Legazpi City.(PNA)