LEGAZPI CITY — After years of waiting, the planned train service from Manila to Legazpi (Albay) and Matnog (Sorsogon) looks more likely to push through.
Civil works for the multi-million Philippine National Railway (PNR) South Rail Project is due to start anytime this year and will be finished by 2021 according to Albay Representative Joey Salceda.
In an interview, Salceda said the project plan was laid down at a recent meeting held with the PNR Management, officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and by high ranking local officials from the four mainland provinces of Bicol — Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Norte.
The Albay lawmaker said the South Rail project would get a budget of P151.3 million (US$3M) to finance the manufacture of new coaches and additional railway track that would negotiate from the PNR Tutuban, Manila station to Matnog, Sorsogon.
The South Rail project would also connect to the North Railway project worth Php258 million (US$5M).
According to Salceda, the PNR South Rail project would be implemented in four segments covering a total of 653 kilometers which include: the Manila to Los Banos section with a length of 72 km; Los Banos to Legazpi City with 406 km; Legazpi City-Matnog, 117 km; and Calamba-Batangas City, 58 km.
The Tutuban to Los Banos segment would be funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency, while the Los Banos to Matnog would be funded by loan proceeds from China.
The south rail central station will pass through the southern barangays beside the Bicol International Airport and Maharlika Highway up to Villahermosa village then going to the town of Matnog in the province of Sorsogon.
Salceda added that there will be a spare line from Daraga to Legazpi City.
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(Source: Philippine News Agency and Motoring Today)