NAGA City -- Transportation and Communications Assistant Secretary Cesar Chavez led an inspection team, together with staff and engineers of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), that travelled early yesterday from the Tutuban Philippine National Railways (PNR) Station in Manila to Ragay, Camarines Sur, to assess the worthiness of the trail tracks after massive rehab projects were implemented during the Aquino administration.
The PNR Engineering Office at the Naga main station with jurisdiction over Legazpi City to Lupi, CamSur railway lines, headed by Engineer Greg Maño Jr., said that the inspection team will stop at Ragay railway tracks due to ongoing repairs at the Apad Railway Bridge, whose foundations collapsed during heavy rains in March 5, this year.
Maño said there is a directive to complete the construction of the damaged bridge in Bgy. Apad until Dec. 8 this year as resumpion of trips is proposed for the Bicol Express train from Tutuban to Naga City by Dec. 15 this year.
Chavez’s inspection team will determine the worthiness of the PNR railway line from Quezon province to Bicol.
The Bicol Express train stopped its operations in 2012 after it derailed in Sariaya, Quezon due to soil erosion along the rail tracks.
Former DOTC Sec. Jun Abaya ordered a halt on the Manila-Bicol train operation until a rehabilitation was completed with a recommendation from foreign consultants. But the Bicol Express run was never resumed until the end of the Aquino administration.
The current PNR railway line inspection by Chavez from Manila to Bicol is the first conducted by DOTC officials since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.