'Bicol Express' to cut Manila-Legazpi travel to 5 hours

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UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque has assured Bicolanos of fast travel and efficient product delivery once the "Bicol Express" train route connecting Manila to the Bicol Region becomes fully operational.

In a statement on Thursday, Roque said travel from Manila to Bicol and vice versa would only take five hours with the resumption of the express train.

“Ipagpapatuloy po natin ang proyekto na Bicol Express. Ibabalik po natin ang tren mula Maynila hanggang Legazpi pero pong pagkakaiba, tatakbo po ito at 142 kilometers per hour, ibig sabihin limang oras na lang po ang biyahe papunta ng Legazpi. (We will continue the Bicol Express project. We will resume the Manila to Legazpi route with 142 kilometers per hour speed, which means there would only be five hours of travel going to Legazpi),” he said.

The "Bicol Express" train of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) operated from the 1930s to the early 2000s until it shut down in 2006 because of the damage caused by Typhoons "Reming" and "Milenyo".

RELATED: Marcos vows to revive glory days of ‘Bicol Express’

The Duterte administration has begun the construction of a new 560-km Bicol Express line. Package 1 covers the first 380 kilometers from Banlic, Calamba to Daraga, Albay, according to PNR General Manager Junn Magno. It is expected to be completed by 2024 and to start operation by the third quarter of 2025.

On the other hand, the other PNR Bicol contract packages are expected to finish between 2024 and 2026, with the entire PNR Bicol line scheduled to be operational by 2027.
Roque also said when the Bicol Express becomes fully operational, the speedy delivery of products and efficient commerce will boost the region's income.

RELATED: PNR Lucena-San Pablo to reopen in June

“Importante sa atin ang mabilis na biyahe. Kung mapapabilis natin ang kalakaran ng hindi lang tao maski ang mga paninda natin. Ito po ay magdudulot ng mas malaking kita para po sa buong Bicolandia (It is important for us to have fast travel, not just for people but also for goods. This will bring additional income for the entire Bicolandia),” he said.

Meanwhile, Roque also vowed to help Bicol which suffered from past natural calamities such as volcanic eruption and typhoons. He said President Rodrigo Duterte never failed to help the region even though it is not perceived as an "ally".

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