With recent government projects expanding the railway system currently in the pipeline, such as the North-South Commuter Railway, MRT 7, the Metro Manila Subway, the PNR South Long Haul, the Mindanao Railway, and the potential restoration of the Panay Railways and Cebu Railways as mentioned in the first state of the nation address of President Bongbong Marcos, I think that the government should also put into consideration the restoration and expansion of the PNR North Main Line.
The PNR North Main Line was the original route of the PNR. Having been constructed during the Spanish era, it ran from Tutuban to Dagupan and completed in 1892. During the American period, it was expanded further north to Bacnotan in La Union.
The Phases 1 and 2 of the NSCR are currently underway, running from Tutuban to Clark International Airport, with plans to further expand the line to New Clark City.
I suggest that from there, a long-haul line should run up to La Union, or even possibly further to Laoag. This will cut travel time to Northern Luzon, boost tourism, ease the delivery of goods and services, and decongest NLEX, SCTEX, and TPLEX which are seeing increasing volumes of vehicles due to the influx of tourists to the north.
During the American period, there were abortive attempts to extend the line to Baguio, the summer capital, but due to right of way issues and rising construction costs, they were halted. Then again, with the influx of tourists that road infrastructure cannot sustain, a railway line to Baguio makes more sense, but there should be environmental factors to be considered.
During the 1950s, there were also plans to expand the PNR to the Cagayan Valley, from Tarlac City and San Jose, Nueva Ecija all the way to Tuguegarao, but the project became a casualty of partisan politics. Read more here: https://www.ejrcf.or.jp/jrtr/jrtr22/F38_Satre.html
I also think that the project should be revisited as there is also a lot of travel demand to the Cagayan Valley.
There are also plans to construct a freight line to Subic from Clark, but I think a passenger service will also fit as well.
In addition, I have a personal suggestion in mind. Having experienced the long and winding travel to Baler, a popular tourist destination, there should be a railway line going there from Cabanatuan, which will also be connected to the old Balagtas-Cabanatuan line.
I hope these proposals will be realized as I believe that millions of people who travel back and forth from Manila to Pangasinan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan, tourists going to Baguio and Baler, and residents who have families in Ilocos and Cagayan Valley will benefit, will be a great boost to our economic development, and will lessen our reliance on road-based infrastructure in favor of a people-friendly and eco-friendly public transportation.