The state-run Philippine National Railways (PNR) is gearing up to regain its role as the main mode of transportation even outside Metro Manila.
“PNR is all about progress. Every year, passenger ridership increases and we have to cope with the demand and the changing times. We aim to be the main mode of transportation even outside Metro Manila,” said PNR general manager Joseph Allan Dilay.
“For the next 50 years, we aim to not only double but triple and maybe exponentially increase our capacity to serve the needs of our riding public and meet the demands of the economy,” he added.
2014 marks a milestone for PNR. It is the year the PNR Charter (or Republic Act 4156, an Act creating the Philippine National Railways) was renewed for another 50 years by Congress. And for the first time, PNR was given a budget of P2.2 billion for 2015 to finance its various projects.
“This is mostly for the improvement of various PNR infrastructure and facilities, including the repair of rolling stocks to better serve the riding public,” Dilay said.
At present, PNR operates the Metro South Commuter line that runs daily from Tutuban to Mamatid in Laguna.
The train system was founded on November 24, 1892 as the Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan during the Spanish colonial period, carrying passengers from Manila to Dagupan. It later became the Manila Railroad Company (MRRco) at the time the Americans colonized the Philippines.
In the 1930s, the first Bicol train was put into commercial operation. During this time the north and south railroads were inaugurated. By virtue of RA 4156 on June 20, 1964, the corporate name MRRco was changed to PNR, an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
PNR is celebrating its 122 years this year as one of the oldest but thriving mass transport systems in the country.
“Hopefully, in the years to come, PNR can procure brand new rolling stocks and, at the same time, improve and build new railway tracks,” Dilay said.