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De Castro pushes revitalized, modern PNR by 2009

Saturday, September 13, 2008 [ manilatimes.net ]

Only one train ride will separate Pampanga and Calamba, Laguna soon as the modernized Philippine National Railways (PNR) goes into full operation by the summer of 2009, Vice President de Castro said Friday.

During the turnover ceremonies of the railways’ cleared right-of-way from the National Housing Autho­rity to the PNR, de Castro revealed that the reconstruction of the rail line from Pampanga to Calamba is underway and the old trains that used to service that route will soon be replaced.

In Sampaloc, Manila alone, 5,000 families were relo­cated and 2,045 illegal structures were demolished to give way to the project.

The revitalized railways will have trains that will run at 80 kilometers per hour, just like the existing Metro Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit systems. That speed is a great improvement to the old trains that moved at a measly 5 kilometers per hour.

“I would like to thank the public for their cooperation because this project will really benefit us all. The informal settlers now have a place to live of their own, at a very affordable price. They won’t feel bad about that,” De Castro said.

The clearing the railroad of debris and informal settlers has yet to be completed in Tondo.

The vice president, who also heads the housing agency, said the revitalized railway can also serve the relocation communities, which include Caloocan South and Muntinlupa City.

“With the PNR in place, it won’t be difficult for them [relocated families] to come to Manila. The Bulacan segment is good and we are working on Pampanga and Alabang,” he added.

PNR General Manager Joey Sarasola said a Korean contractor will be involved in the project and that the new trains will be powered with diesel-electric engines. --Llanesca T. Panti

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