2.4 Philippines Railway Assessment

Philippines Railway Assessment

The state-owned Philippine National Railways, commonly abbreviated as PNR, is the sole operator of the most extensive intra-island railway on Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines. It operates two commuter rail services in Metro Manila and the Bicol Region. The Bicol service is currently under rehabilitation in preparation for the resumption of the Bicol Express run to Naga City in Camarines Sur province, and eventually to the southern terminal in Legazpi City in Albay. The existing and well-patronized commuter service in Metro Manila is part of the metropolitan transit system and referred to as the Orange Line.

PNR officially began operations on June 26, 1875 as the Ferrocarril de Manila-Dagupan, during the Spanish colonial period, and later becoming the Manila Railroad Company(MRR) during the American colonial period. It became the Philippine National Railways on June 20, 1946 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4156. The PNR is an attached agency under the Department of Transportation and Communications. PNRs efforts to link areas across Luzon have been beset with problems regarding degraded infrastructure and lack of funding and only the Southline is currently operational and the cargo branch of operations largely defunct. Narrow gauge standard results in lateral instability. Together with the age of most of the passenger rolling-stock, this means trains can only run up to 50 km/h (31 mph). Due to PNR financial difficulties, very limited cargo service available. Most freight cars are in varying states of disrepair.

Railway Companies and Consortia

For information on Philippines Railway company contact details, please see the following link: 

4.9 Philippines Railway Company Contact List

Key Route Information

Standard Route Information

Intra-island railway on Luzon

Track gauge

Single track Cape guage: 1,067 mm / 3 foot 6 inches

Ruling gradient


Total track distance (single and/or double)

Northline (Manila – San Fernando) 266 kms / 165 miles CLOSED

Southline (Manila – Legazpi): 479 kms / 267 miles

Type of rail (weight and if welded or not)


Type of sleeper and fastenings


Total track travel time


Maintenance (Good, marginal, bad)


Companies-consortiums operating on line

Philippine National Railways

Traffic frequency (monthly/weekly/daily)


Security (Good, marginal, bad)


Main stations (Add details below)

Manila, Legazpi

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