pnrofficialpageTHE government purchased seven new train sets from Indonesian state-owned company PT Industri Kereta Api (PT INKA) for the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
The two parties signed the contract on Monday for the supply, delivery, testing and commissioning of the three diesel hydraulic locomotive (DHL) train sets worth $26 million and four diesel multiple unit (DMU) train sets worth $21.4 million.
In a speech at the event, PNR General Manager Junn B. Magno said this is the first time in 40 years that PNR has purchased new trains.
He told reporters after the event that the PNR currently has 11 train sets servicing 50,000 to 70,000 passengers a day.
Kulang pa rin yun to support the (Manila South) corridor [That’s still not enough to support the Manila South Corridor]. So that’s why when my team, my planning team sat down, sabi nila [they said] we need to buy new trains. That’s what we did. We went back to Congress, we asked for money,” Mr. Magno said.
The acquisition of new trains is funded by the General Appropriations Act of 2018, which allocated a P3.515-billion budget for PNR this year. PNR usually receives a budget of around P715 million.
Mr. Magno said PNR earlier ordered two train sets from PT INKA and signed the P483.5-million deal in January. The first batch of trains is expected to arrive around July or August next year, and all trains in by December 2019.
The PNR general manager explained the DMU train could be likened to the MRT, except the prime mover is diesel instead of electricity, while the DHL train is capable of running even with water contact. Mr. Magno said almost two thirds of the PNR’s profitable alignment are areas prone to flooding.
Once PNR has received the new train sets, Mr. Magno said it would have around 14 new trains to ply the Manila South corridor. Seven of the 14 will be the new deliveries from PT INKA, and five will come from rehabilitated trains that originated from South Korea in 2009. The 14 train sets are expected to carry 150,000 passengers a day.
The remaining older units will be delivered to the provinces. “Now the old trains, I’m programming them for rehabilitation. We’ll rehabilitate some of them. In the next few months, baka pwede namin ilagay siya [maybe we could put them] to restart the Naga-Legazpi commuter service. Right now malaki ang demand… but we don’t have trains,” Mr. Magno said.
For 2019, he said PNR plans to acquire more cargo trains so they could open the Legazpi to Manila route. “Legazpi to Manila in the past was only profitable for cargo. So what we’re going to do is reopen cargo services,” he said. — Denise A. Valdez