PRESIDENT Duterte may not be able to deliver on his pipe dream of making the EDSA trip from Cubao to Makati a blissful 10-minute drive, but at least he can already claim as his legacy the various transportation and infrastructure projects that has made life a little bit more bearable for Filipinos.
Under the administration of President Duterte and the leadership of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, a number of big-ticket projects that reached only as far as the planning stage in the terms of the last four presidents (Ramos, Estrada, Macapagal-Arroyo and Aquino) saw their completion. Others had their final groundbreaking rites, such as the Sangley International Airport, while others are almost finished, such as the Skyway Stage 3 project that connects the SLEX and the NLEX. Still others have been completed, such as Harbor Link. Similar projects are in various stages of constructions in the Visayas and Mindanao.
One of the more important ones is the improvement in the services of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) as two more new train sets from Indonesia were deployed for operations last February 20.
The two train sets, which arrived this February, are composed of new 8100 series of Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train cars with a four-car formation and were supplied by the Indonesian rolling stock manufacturer PT Industri Kereta Api (INKA). This latest addition forms part of PNR’s 2018 train procurement that aims to transform and improve the services of the rail network.
Following the 150 hours of validation test, a send-off ceremony was held to formally field the new train sets for commercial operations. It is expected to carry 1,000 passengers per trip and serve passengers in its assigned route, Tutuban in Tondo, Manila to Alabang in Muntinlupa City. The PNR’s metro line runs from Tutuban to Los Baños in Laguna.
PNR General Manager Junn Magno noted that the new DMU trains have additional security features such as obstacle door detector to help passengers from getting caught in-between and a tropicalized air-conditioning system designed to ideally function in the country’s climate. The trains also feature polycarbonate glass windows to help prevent damages, especially in cases of stone-throwing incidents along the PNR line.
The PNR hopes to open services to Valenzuela City, too, to serve the southern and part of the northern corridor, and offload some commuters using EDSA.
Last year, the first batch of DMU train sets, composed of six railcars, arrived in the country and started operations on December 16, 2019. PNR purchased a total of 37 railcars expected to be delivered in the country by batches.
PNR will have two more DMU train sets, 3 locomotives and 15 passenger coaches and 2 shunter within the first half of 2020. Once all these new train sets are operational, the PNR targets to serve a total of 140,000 passengers per day — at least double the current capacity of 48,000 to 60,000 passengers daily.
Secretary Tugade welcomed the development in the PNR as the delivery of the additional train sets will further provide convenience to the riding public.
“They said development comes in when the trains start rolling. We are setting limits high enough for the people to hear and for the people to feel that there will be development that is geared to provide Filipinos a comfortable and convenient life,” Tugade said.
We just hope the citizens will appreciate these new train services and themselves arrest the vandals that throw stones at our new trains.