Philippine rail operator orders trains from China

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The Philippine National Railways (PNR) on Wednesday signed a deal with China’s CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co. Ltd. for the purchase of new trains for its Bicol route, the Transportation department said in a statement. The Chinese company won the bidding for the train purchase on Oct. 23, the agency said.

The PNR South Haul line, which costs P175 billion, was one of the projects identified for Chinese funding, according to CNN Philippines.

The train order is part of the state rail operator’s plan to modernize its train system. PNR Bicol is expected to cut down travel time between Manila and the Bicol region by 80%, PNR General Manager Junn B. Magno said after the signing of the agreement.

The Transportation department said the project consists of three train sets of three car formations, which are scheduled for delivery by June 2021.

The trains will be initially deployed for long-haul service from Calamba, Laguna to Naga City in Camarines Sur and eventually to Legazpi City in Albay.

The trains will include business class, first class and second-class accommodations, and can accommodate 168 people.

The business class accommodation will have 36 seats. There will be 52 seats for first class and 80 for the second class.

The agency has yet to get a contractor for the China-funded PNR South Long-Haul project, it said.

PNR Bicol used to cover 479 kilometers of tracks from Manila until it stopped operating in 2014 because of right-of-way issues and lack of trains. — Arjay L. Balinbin