The Philippine National Railways (PNR) San Pablo-Lucena route will not only link the rail line to the Bicol network but will also unlock economic potentials and enhance mobility in Southern Luzon, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade said on Monday, 14 February 2022.
“Itong bubuksan nating ruta na San Pablo-Candelaria-Lucena, ito ay idudugtong upang sa ganun ating mapatotoo at mapagtunay ang “Bicol Express”, kaya malaki ang bahagi at ang kahalagahan ng linyang ito para sa Laguna at Lucena sa Quezon in the immediate term,” Secretary Tugade said during his inspection of the PNR Lucena-San Pablo route.
Aside from its use as a passenger commuter service, the PNR Lucena-San Pablo route can also be converted into a commercial or cargo freight service, Secretary Tugade explained.
“Mahalaga rin po na sabihin na itong rutang ito ay convertible hindi lamang papuntang Bicol, kundi maging convertible na maging commercial route dito sa Lucena,” he said.
Stalled for almost a decade, the PNR San Pablo-Lucena route is a 44-kilometer inter-provincial commuter railway which was part of the commuter train service to Bicol with stations and flag stops for daily commuters or short travels.
The PNR Lucena-San Pablo commuter line ceased operation in October 2013 after the collapse of an abutment.
When operations resume, the line will have two (2) terminal stations and four (4) flag stops in between, with travel time of 1 hour and 32 minutes from Lucena to San Pablo.
Parts of the long-distance rail network’s right-of-way will also be utilized for the PNR South Long Haul Project or the “Bicol Express”.
Meanwhile, PNR General Manager Junn Magno expressed his gratitude to the provincial governments of Laguna and Quezon for helping the Department of Transportatiom (DOTr) and PNR in “reaching the country’s aspirations in opening the mass transport.”
GM Magno stressed that the PNR San Pablo-Lucena line will also open the economic corridors of Laguna, Quezon, and Bicol to ensure economic equity and progress in Southern Luzon.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa mga kasama natin sa Laguna at Quezon. Salamat po sa inyo dahil tinutulungan niyo kami na maabot ang ating aspirations ng ating bansa na buksan muli ang ating mass transport at buksan ang economic corridors ng Laguna, Quezon hanggang Bicol,” GM Magno said.
For his part, San Pablo City, Laguna Urban Development and Housing Officer Emilio Tirones said the PNR Lucena-San Pablo line will aid in various aspects of socio-economic development, including the city’s economic stability, mobility and connectivity and relocation for San Pablo City’s informal settlers.
In 2012, the rail line operated once every two days, Tirones lamented.
“Kung may train, may connectivity at mobility ang bawat bayan gaya ng sinabi ni Secretary Tugade. At the same time, yung economic aspects ng San Pablo—‘yung mga products namin madadala sa inter-province, sa Manila,” he said, adding that the Lucena-San Pablo loop will be 10 trips per day.