(Eagle News) — The Department of Transportation is eyeing the partial operability of a segment of the Philippine National Railways project in Bicol next year.
In a statement, the department said so far, on-site activities are ongoing, with a land survey, and the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment report also underway.
“Inaasahan po natin na makapag-award po tayo ng unang contractor itong 3rd quarter ng 2021. Ongoing na rin po ang pag-aacquire natin ng mga lupa (We are hoping to award the contract to a contractor this third quarter of 2021. The acquisition of land is also ongoing),” said Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said.
According to the DOTr, the San Pablo, Candelaria, Lucena, and Pagbilao segments, in particular, will be the first to be allowed to operate between the first and second quarter of 2022.
The full operation of the PNR Bicol Project is slated for the third quarter of 2025.
The department said once completed, current project will decrease travel time from Manila to Legazpi to 4.5 to 6 hours, from the 14 to 18 hours travel time.
The trains will also operate at multiple times per day, depending on demand, as opposed to the twice a week being done so far.
The PNR Bicol rail line will run 560-kilometers long, from Sucat, Parañaque in Metro Manila to Matnog in Sorsogon, and from Calamba to Batangas.