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Regular Train Runs In Bikol Delayed Further

NAGA CITY - REGULAR TRAIN RUNS, scheduled by the Philippine National Railways (PNR) originating from its Central Station in this city, will still be delayed as more test runs on two reconditioned engines, train engines 918 and 922, will be done from Naga City to Tagkawayan, Quezon Province and to Ligao City, vice- versa.

PNR Transportation Division Manager and Bicol Coordinator Constancio Toledano said that new batteries for the train engines have arrived and further test runs will be conducted to test the full capacity of the engines. The train engines were kept in the PNR motorpool since Sept. 2006

Earlier, PNR general manager Manuel "Ower" Andal had ordered the resumption of the commuter train service from Ligao to Tagkawayan using the reconditioned engines  during the Pe├▒afrancia festival; however, train engines have broken-down during the test trips last Sept. 16 and 18.

Toledano said this time they want to know the real capacity of reconditioned engines with the arrival of new spare parts and batteries.

The PNR official said the commuter train trips will start within the coming month with fares amounting to only half of that charged by buses.

According to Toledano fare rates were set at P150 pesos from Ligao City,  Albay to Tagkawayan, Quezon; P60.00 from Tagkawayan to Naga; P40.00 from Naga to Ligao City; and P20.00 from Naga to Iriga City.

Meanwhile the constructed P 24-Million Central Train Station in Naga City is on its completion stage. Toledano said that the contractor Hi-Grade Construction firm is finishing the installation of the office and facility furnishings before the building is turned-over to the PNR.

Reportedly, Andal had set the inauguration rites of the PNR Central Station in Naga within the month of October this year, with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gracing the inaugural rites. (SONNY SALES)