Bicol Express: Naga-Legazpi rail line reopens | Inquirer News

Bicol Express: Naga-Legazpi rail line reopens

/ 05:21 PM December 26, 2023

A PNR train waits for passengers at a station in Ligao City in Albay province in this photo taken in October. By Dec. 27, the Naga (Camarines Sur)-Legazpi (Albay) route, which stopped operations in 2017, will reopen.

A PNR train waits for passengers at a station in Ligao City in Albay province in this photo taken in October 2023.  (Reynaldo II A. Sinson/Contributor) 

MANILA, Philippines — The scheduled reopening of train trips from Naga in Camarines Sur to Legazpi in Albay on Wednesday is the “most fitting” Christmas gift for Bicolanos, Bicol Saro party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan said on Tuesday.

In a statement, Yamsuan said that the resumption of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) trips “will further stimulate trade between these two major commercial hubs” in their respective provinces, which may affect the entire region eventually.


Last Thursday, PNR confirmed that after six years, the rail trips between the two towns would resume on December 27. The train trip is expected to be faster than taking a bus, as PNR trains take two hours to travel each way, while buses need around two and a half hours.


“This is a belated, but certainly a most welcome, and fitting Christmas gift for Bicolanos. More so now that they will be able to usher in the New Year with the sound of locomotives bearing not only commuters but increased trade and the bustle of economic activity in every train stop that spans the Naga-Legazpi route,” Yamsuan said.

“Increased trade and people movement between these highly competitive cities as a result of the resumption of the Naga-Legazpi rail operations means more jobs, better access to education, and more business and livelihood opportunities for Bicolanos,” he added.

A video posted on PNR’s Facebook page showed test runs being conducted over Kidaco Bridge in Daraga, Albay, with the majestic Mayon Volcano in the background.

Operations from Naga to Ligao in Albay, including nine stops, resumed last July 2023. But with the addition of the Legazpi route, the once dormant line will be completely revived.

According to PNR, four trips will be available daily from Naga to Legazpi and vice versa, featuring 16 stops, with fares ranging from P15 for the shortest distance to P155 for end-to-end trips. A 20 percent discount will be given to students, seniors, and persons with disabilities (PWDs).


Yamsuan said the next project would be to connect the Bicol Region to the rest of Southern Luzon through the South Long Haul Project.

The South Long Haul project or the Bicol Express — a program of the government that Yamsuan is a strong advocate of — is believed to be a game changer because it would bring development not only to Bicol, but also to stations that would traverse the rail project.

“The economic competitiveness of both Naga and Legazpi would be further enhanced with the reopening of the PNR line servicing both cities, with its positive effects spilling over to the rest of Bicol,” he said.

“But reconstructing the entire Bicol Express line into a modern, world-class mode of transportation and connecting it again to Metro Manila and Laguna would prove to be even more of a game changer for the region in terms of accelerating its economic growth,” he added.

Once Laguna province is connected to Bicol via rail, travel between the two points is expected to be reduced from 10 to 12 hours to just four to six hours. This will then connect to the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) System being constructed by the government.

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