Manila: Rail commuters travelling in Metro Manila can expect more reliable train services as two new diesel multiple unit railcars — the first batch in a total order of six — start operations.

Philippine National Railways general manager Junn Magno said for the first time in four decades the PNR had deployed brand new trains in its rail service covering Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“The last time that government provided us with money for trains was 40 years ago,” Magno said.

In its inaugural run on Wednesday, the ground level trains purchased from PT Inka of Indonesia travelled a distance of 12 kilometres in 35 minutes — which may not be very impressive but given the road traffic in Metro Manila, this is already a feat. In comparison, the same distance would take a private car an hour to travel.

The train ran from Makati City’s Dela Rosa to Manila’s downtown Tutuban station.

The Department of Transportation said they are expecting around 750 passengers per train set once the service is comes into full operations by next year.

It expects the number of PNR trips to 18 to 20 daily from the current 12.

The PNR is also reviving its rail service from Manila to Malolos in Bulacan and will soon be constructing a line to Clark in Pampanga.