September this year when the Philippine National Railways re-opened its line further down south to Legazpi City in what Bicolanos believed as the bringing-back-to-life of the Bicol Express — the ride which became the pride of Bikolandia. Is the PNR back on the rails?

At first light today, I took a trip from CamSur to Legazpi via this lonesome line. I find behind the glare of the engine’s headlight is just another freshly coated old and decrepit two-coached train. It’s time we stop, look, reason.

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At about less than an hour to destination, the train came to a sudden halt somewhere in the bushes of Culiat, in Daraga. Although it makes a few unscheduled stops here and there, this one is bad news: we have just rammed two motorbike-riding men.

Here, a local approaches the coach to inform of the accident as crowd gathers at point of impact, a hundred meters back.

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Fortunately, there were no casualties. Engine 5007 chugged along.

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