My Very First Experience in Riding the PNR Train

Father used to tell me stories of his experience in riding the PNR train from his hometown in Bicol to Manila. In those stories, he fondly called the train as “Bicol Express” because it is the fastest mode of transport to Metro Manila from Bicol during his time. He told me that riding the train was so convenient that there were beds made available for sleepy passengers.

Sadly, like other pre-Cory infrastructure, the rail system of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) suffered a decay to which it couldn’t get out of. The PNR of today only serves trips from Tutuban to Alabang. The PNR rail in Laguna, Quezon, in Bicol are now used by railroad kariton or occupied by squatters.

PNR Train
(Source: Wikipedia)

I finally had the chance to ride the PNR train when I had an appointment in Kalentong (Mandaluyong). I decided to take the PNR train from Buendia to Paco Station just for the experience.

PNR Buendia Station

I paid 10 pesos for a train ride to Paco Station. It’s quite cheap. Very much like riding a jeepney.

PNR Commuter Ticket

I guess PNR’s recent request for a fare hike is justified. They need more funds to improve the train system. Let’s just hope that the additional fare will truly improve PNR trains and don’t become like the MRT where the service is terrible.

PNR Buendia Platform

There were few people in PNR-Buendia that time. I guess because it was not rush hour.

The PNR trains arrive in 30 minute interval. Thus I had to wait for a long time for the train. There is no bench or chair on the platform so I just sat on the floor like the others.

To keep the memory of my first ride to PNR train, I made sure to take a video of it.

Unlike the LRT and MRT trains that run on electricity, the PNR trains run on diesel or other fossil fuel. Another difference is that PNR trains have a sort of chicken wire or grill at the windows to protect the train and passengers from the projectiles. People living in homes along the riles are notorious for throwing refuse and even human excrement at PNR trains. This is disgusting but PNR had difficulties in stopping this practice. 

PNR railroad near the Paco train ststion
PNR rail near the Paco Station.

So how was my first PNR train ride? It is not that thrilling. PNR train is crowded like the MRT and LRT. The trip lasted for a few minutes and I reached Paco quickly.

The railway is the most efficient system in delivering people and goods between provinces. Sadly, the government couldn’t see that fact and continue to ignore the overhaul of the PNR. How I wish that the Bicol Express of old and the train system to the North be restored. How I wish that I will be able to have train ride with Little Ahab to Bicolandia.

Oh well, hindi naman masama ang mangarap.

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  1. nadadaanan ko lang yung portion ng PNR sa may Ayala but never had a chance to ride on it... honestly nakakatakot kasi minsan sakyan dahil mukhang luma na talaga then yung mga nagnanakaw ng riles yung isa pang problema.. kasi ilang beses na nadisgrasya ang PNR dahil sa kanila right? Pero sana maranasan ko din makasakay dito ^_^

    1. Hay nakow. Problema talaga ng PNR yang pagnanakaw ng riles. Kaya dapat bakuran na yung daanan ng tren tapos dapat my nagpa-patrol. Para yun sa safety ng mga pasahero.

  2. No train here but I've been on one or more in the mainland, Kuala Lumpur side - from Singapore...and back.

    1. I've only ride the electric train in Kuala Lumpur. I also haven't tried the train that you mentioned.

  3. Naku last year i was able to ride the PNR, and sa tingin ko, hindi mo makukumpleto ang pagiging Filipino mo kapag hindi mo naranasang sumakay sa PNR. Masikip, mainit, parang madami pang masasamang loob, pero iba eh, pinoy ka and by that, PNR deserves a ride. :)

    1. Haha...hindi naman siguro Steve. Magre-reklamo yung mga taga-Mindanao at Visayas jan na walang pagkakataong makasakay ng PNR. :-P

  4. Ang pagsakay sa PNR! I will never ever forget it. And I hope that was my last. Maexperience lang at masabing ganap na Pinoy na. :D

    1. Hopefully mag-upgrade na ang PNR para naman ganahan kang sumakay ulit. :-)

  5. I love trains! Sayang This means of moving people was left behind by past administration. I had the chance to ride that Naga-Manila and Alabang-Tutuban. The latter w]was like hell! Haha... but there is a light with our trains, the govenrment is pushing to rehabilitate the old lines and build new lines. Well this time, they seem serious aboout it. Sana matuloy na, pagnagkataon sa 2021 ata magbubukas ang like going to Matnog ;)

    1. Sana talaga matuloy na. At sana mabilis din at maraming tren para naman mabilis ang byahe ko mula Laguna to Metro Manila.


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