The history of Philippines Railways dates back to 1880 with the construction of the Manila-Dagupan railways by the Britishers.Subsequently, the Americans who occupied Philippines in 1892 weren’t too keen on expanding the rail network, preferring to build roads and highways. It was not until the turn of the century that railroad planning could start in a big way in Philippines.
The Philippines Legislature passed Act. No. 2547 on February 4, 1916, acquiring the then Manila Railroad Company (MRR).Construction of lines continued such that by 1940, the railway had been extended up to Legaspi, Albay in the South and to San Fernando, La Union in the north. On June 20, 1946, Republic Act No. 4156, the new Charter was passed, renaming the Company to what it is today – Philippines National Railways (PNR).
A part of the PNR network is part of the Strong Republic Transit System (SRTS).The Strong Republic Transit System is a project of the Office of the President designed to integrate the various rail lines providing public transport in Manila in the Philippines. Its objective is to provide a reliable, seamless and integrated mass transit system that would be at par with international standards through the unification of already existing rail infrastructure. The Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT), the Manila Metro Rail Transit System(MRT) and the Philippines National Railways (PNR) North rail and South rail lines are covered by the SRTS project.
The PNR railway link consists of two main railway lines; the North Main Line, also known as North rail and the South Main Line, known as South rail. But the North rail has been stopped since the late 1980s.The total length of South rail is 479 kilometer and it extends from Manila to Legazpi City.
PNR runs various passenger train services, which cover various parts of Luzon, as well as commuter train services in Metro Manila.
The Commuter Express is the backbone of Metro Manilas regional rail services, serving Metro Manila's various train stations, as well as areas as far south as Calamba City in Laguna. More recently, Commex services have been increasingly operated serving stations between Tutuban and Bicutan in Paranaque City.
The Bicol Commuter service, started on September 16, 2009, serves as the regional rail backbone of the Bicol Region. The Bicol Region or Bicolandia is one of the 17 regions of the Philippines. It occupies the Bicol Peninsula at the southeastern end of Luzon Island and some other islands. It consists of six provinces, namely, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon.