Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rail transport in the Philippines gaining many fans!

I recently came across a couple of on-line communities whose members shared an interest in following development of rail transport in the Philippines. One was on the PinoyExchange.com thread The New Look of PNR where forum participants shared photos of and news about the services and facilities being developed by the Philippine National Railways (PNR). Among the participants in that thread were the admins of the Facebook.com page PNR, MRT, LRT in the Philippines (PMLP@Facebook).

PMLP@Facebook are a far more organised community with a core group of admins who, together with active members, frequently update the page with fresh content.

It's encouraging to see this kind of interest in a form of transport that holds the key to turning Metro Manila into a modern metropolis and the rest of the country into an efficiently well-connected nation. The challenges facing rehabilitation and further development of rail transport in the Philippines are, of course, still quite formidable as evident when one compares the following photo of Blumentritt station (Source: album on PMLP@Facebook) below...



... with that of a train station in Switzerland:



Note how a clock dominates the Swiss station. One's gotta aim high to achieve high.

3 comments:

  1. That's encouraging. The thing with PNR -- and why I've said it should be scrapped, and am sticking to that point of view -- is that the only thing it has going for it at this point is the right-of-way, and even that is compromised by being covered in slums. But that's still something to start with, if somebody has a little will and ambition to build on it.

    There aren't many cities this size that don't have some kind of commuter rail system feeding into the intra-city network; it's a good idea, and they need it here. Unfortunately, one of the bad traits this country inherited from the Americans was a completely screwed-up outlook towards transportation in general, so it's not going to be an easy thing to accomplish.

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  2. That makes the solution quite obvious then. The way forward is being hindered by an outdated implementing agent and therefore the nature of the way forward has more to do with an administrative revamp. This is one of those rare solution that enjoys a strong consensus among Filipinos, and its outcomes are very visible so politicians have a lot to gain by pushing these sorts of initiatives.

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  3. What makes American public transit systems work in the cities that have made it work (San Francisco, New York City, Washington DC) is that the cities and the transit systems are planned around each other. For these cities it's not only become their lifeblood but a part of the culture as well.

    In Manila, where urban planning is apparently imperialist domination (because the Americans/Commonwealth bothered to think of it on a larger scale than the church-centered barrio), it has been 10 years since the MRT started running and they're still using the same three-car layout that fills up only 2/3 of the fucking platform. At least they managed to get new trains for Line 1 and 2, and those are (still) working fine.

    Unfortunately, I won't be seeing them finally connect the MRT-LRT loop before I graduate next year, and it's all because Henry Sy wants his own station for North Edsa because Ayala took one for TriNoma. >:C Just as well, couple those with NEW TRAINS and maybe we can finally starve those goddamn buses out of business.

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