Rep. Villafuerte scores policy on Bicol railway modernization

Representative Luis Villafuerte. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Representative Luis Villafuerte. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

By Joey Natividad
Special Correspondent

NAGA CITY  ( – The present government policy to modernize the Manila-Bicol railway system will not answer the transport needs of Bicolanos within the next ten years, and it lacks the vision for a modern railway transport system, since the rehabilitated old tracks are good only for freight services, a Bicol lawmaker said.

Congressman Luis R. Villafuerte, (3rd District, Camarines Sur) said that to modernize the southbound railway system, commuter train services must be employed to transport passengers within the major destinations in the Camarines Sur-Albay-Sorsogon routes, not to mention the usual Manila-Bicol train service.

“For railway modernization, wider rail tracks must be used for passenger train services bound for Manila-Bicol, which must run at least 120km/hour to cut travel time shorter, and that ideal rail service must be three trips a day,” said Congressman Villafuerte. “The old narrow tracks, currently being renovated, are good only for cargo and freight train service.”

The lawmaker said modern railway planners must anticipate future railway transport demands from cargo and passengers ten (10) years from now, and onwards, since rapid population growth, and demographic shifts produce stress on mass transport systems.

“Fast railway transport systems, in Europe, run on electricity and their rail tracks wider. The rail tracks are enclosed inside fencing systems for safety,” he said.

“Government planners must have the foresight and vision to modernize our southbound railway system that must cope up with the future demand and needs for cargo transports and passenger travels that will arise from pressures associated in developments expansion in the Manila-Bicol growth corridor,” said Congressman Villafuerte. []

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