Philippine National Railways (PNR) management said key sections of the track that were damaged by bad weather earlier this year were almost ready to be used, paving the way for the start of its commercial operations by the middle of September.
“Our target is to have the trains running in time for the Peñafrancia festival in Naga City,” PNR spokesman Jera Sison said.
“The festival is a big event for the Bicol region and that will be our launch party,” he said. The Peñafrancia festival is set for September 9 to 18 of this year. The Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica is located in Naga City.
The PNR management has been working on restoring the “Bicol Express” train service since the start of the Aquino administration. The train service was halted in 2006 due to damage on the tracks caused by typhoons.
The service was briefly restored in June for a soft opening, but the tracks were damaged once again due to bad weather.
Sison said the PNR management wants one train leaving Manila for Bicol once a day, with another train leaving Bicol for Manila simultaneously. “PNR General Manager Junio Ragragio is there in Bicol supervising all the repairs every day,” Sison said.