3 Jul 2011
I've documented my travel from the time I left Timog, Quezon City to the time I've checked in, with recordings of exact time the train arrived in and left each stopover . My purpose is to inform travelers who are thinking of riding Bicol Express Train of the actual travel time the new rehabilated train takes the Tutuban - Naga route.
For the latest update on Bicol Express Train, go to Bicol Express Train Update. Click here.
I took a cab to LRT-1 Roosevelt Station at around 3:30 pm and took a Baclaran bound train. I alighted at Bambang Station and took a motorized tricycle to PNR Tutuban Station. The tricycle only took 10 minutes to take me to PNR Tutuban.
After I bought a one way ticket to Naga, I had to wait more that one hour sitting in one of the benches of the old station. Then I heard the loud speaker announced the magic words. It's boarding time.
Finally, I was inside the fully refurbished train that I'd only seen in the news. The train left Tutuban Station exactly 6:15 pm and here's the rest of the account.
Contrary to my belief, the train did't stop at Blumentritt Station. It's first stop was in Espana Station at 6:24 pm. It moved again immediately at 6:27 pm. It stoped in Pandacan Station, 6:34 pm. After 11 minutes, it moved again at 6:45 pm. Third time it stopped was in Pasay Road at 6:56 pm where it left at 7:04 pm. FTI was the fourth station where the train stopped at 7:13 pm. It left at 7:16 pm. Then, after a 2 minute stop in the middle of the track, the train stopped in Alabang at 7:39 pm. It resumed the trip immediately at 7:41 pm.
For a while, the train continuously went on its shaky run. And just as I enjoyed the precarious ride, we heard a loud sound as if something hit us. The newly rehabilitated train stopped again in the dark somewhere in Sta. Rosa as I've seen SM Sta Rosa minutes ago. A handful of crew got off the train to check the train and then one told us that the train hit some construction iron that apparently protruded from on-going repair of some utility company. We've waited for 14 minutes and the train resumed its journey.
Next station where the train stopped was San Pablo as I was told. It stopped there 9:30 pm and at no time it moved again. At 10:31 pm, we stopped at Lucena, and after 6 minutes we're moving again.
Next, we stopped in Hondagua at 1:39 am, left immediately at 1:44 am. In Tagkawayan, Quezon, we arrived at 2:53 am and left exactly 3:00 am. And then our first stop in Camarines Sur was in Ragay at 4:00 am where after 3 minutes we headed again towards our destination.
The train slowed down a bit after a few kilometers and one of the Rail Police told us that area was where the train on its maiden trip stopped for 6 hours and waited while some hollow under the track was being covered with soil. I felt some uneasiness when I realized we're already in Sipocot. And then, soon enough, we stopped at Sipocot Station at 5:17 am. I was thankful that this time the train left Sipocot immediately without any glitch. The train spent only 2 minutes in Sipocot Station.
Our last stop before we got to our destination was Libmanan. This was where a long wait was overshadowed by the reality that it's already dawn and that I would get to Naga at daybreak. The train stopped in Libmanan at 5:41 am. It needed to wait for the late incoming train to pass before ours was given a green sign. A lot of passengers found time to even get off the train and buy coffee in some makeshift stores along the rail track. Finally, the train started to move forward again at 6:05 am.
The train arrived in Naga City Station exactly 6:40 am, finally.
And that's how I got to Naga City from Tutuban on July 2, 2011. PNR Bicol Express train traveled from Tutuban to Naga in more than 12 hours. I've experienced it first hand. My question now is - what happened to 10 hours? Hehe.
Anyways, I rode a tricycle outside the Naga Station. I asked the driver to take me to the nearest Jollibee. After I had my jolly breakfast meal, it's time for hotel hunting. Until I found myself in the front desk of Naga Land Hotel.
I'll update you on "what happens next in Bicolandia" on my next post. So stay tuned.
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