Construction of North-South Commuter Railway kicks off
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government and its Japanese contractor commenced yesterday with the construction of a railway system that will cut travel time to and from Manila and Bulacan to only 35 minutes upon its completion in two years’ time.

The PNR Clark Phase 1 of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Extension Project, a 38-kilometer line spanning from Tutuban to Malolos, will include 10 stations and a depot in Valenzuela City.

The project is expected to be operational by 2021 and will have a capacity of over 340,000 passengers daily.

“Today we start realizing what has only been a dream for decades, and that is to provide Filipinos with a new way of life that would free millions from the oppression of traffic congestion and four-hour commutes, and that would regain for millions the freedom to spend more quality time with family, friends, and one’s self, and that would expand opportunities for livelihood, businesses, and personal development,” Transportation Undersecretary for railways Timothy John Batan said.

“But that’s not all because today also marks the beginning of the ambitious goal of connecting all 26 local governments from Clark International Airport in Region 3 or Central Luzon, all the way to Calamba in Region 4 or CALABARZON, with a 147-km., fully-elevated, dual-track, electrified, and high capacity commuter railway system with 37 stations and a fleet of 58 eight-car train sets, or a total of 464 train cars or bagons, all of which will start construction within 2019,” said Batan, referring to the entire P777.55 billion NSCR extension project.

PNR Clark Phase 1 will be seamlessly integrated with PNR Clark Phase 2 going to Clark, Pampanga and the PNR South Commuter going to Calamba, Laguna to form one integrated commuter railway system serving commuters travelling to, from, and within NCR, Region III, and Region IV-A.

Japan’s Sumitomo-Mitsui Construction Corp. has been selected as the contractor of the PNR Clark Phase 1, while bidding for the Malolos to Clark portion is still ongoing.

“After signing the contract with our partner, Sumitomo-Mitsui Construction Corp. last Jan. 23, we are proud to say that as of today, 91 percent of the 38-km alignment from Tutuban to Malolos is already free and clear,” Batan said.

“This is a testament that when change comes to the way that government does things, no problems of the past cannot be solved, not even the much talked-about problem of right-of-way,” he said.

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