By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) yesterday started work on the second package of the over P2-billion Philippine National Railways (PNR) Clark Phase 1 linking Tutuban, Manila with Malolos, Bulacan.
The project is part of the P777.5-billion North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Extension Project spanning 147 kilometers, with a total of 36 stations from Clark International Airport to Calamba, Laguna.
Phase 1 of the railway with cut travel time to Bulacan from the current one and a half hours to 35 minutes and will serve more than 340,000 passengers per day when it becomes operational by 2021.
It consists of 2 Civil Works Packages, with the first having already started construction this February 15, by Sumitomo-Mitsui Construction Corporation, and the second, started yesterday, May 20, by the Taisei-DMCI Joint Venture.
This initial phase of the PNR Clark Railway Project will eventually extend all the way to Clark, Pampanga.
It will have 10 stations: Tutuban, Solis, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Malolos, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas and Guiguinto, with a depot in Valenzuela city.
Furthermore, Phase 1 will be seamlessly integrated with PNR Clark Phase 2 going to Clark, Pampanga and PNR South Commuter going to Calamba, Laguna, forming one integrated commuter railway system serving commuters travelling to, from, and within NCR, Region III, and Region IV-A.
The PNR Clark project took the place of the defunct Northrail project, which the government abandoned after reaching an out-of-court settlement with its Chinese contractor after many years of arbitration proceedings.
The NSCR System consists of the 38-km. PNR Clark Phase 1 from Tutuban to Malolos, the 53-km. PNR Clark Phase 2 from Malolos to Clark, and the 56-km. PNR Calamba segments from Solis to Calamba.
It spans 147-km., a fully-elevated, dual-track, electrified, and high capacity commuter railway, with 37 stations, and a fleet of 58 8-car train sets, or a total of 464 train cars. It will connect 26 local government units in all.
The NSCR System will link with existing railway lines LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3 and the Metro Manila Subway. It is expected to serve some 700,000 passengers per day once it is fully operational in 2023,connecting Clark Airport to Buendia in as short as 55 minutes, and Clark Airport to Calamba in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
PNR Clark Phase 2 consists of 5 Civil Works Packages, with the first three packages scheduled for Bid Submission in July 2019, and the 4th and 5th packages scheduled for Bid Submission in the 3rd Quarter of 2019.
PNR Calamba, meanwhile, consists of 7 Civil Works Packages, with the first package for its Partial Operability Section already scheduled for Bid Submission in the 3rd Quarter of 2019, and the 2nd to the 7th packages scheduled for publication also in the 3rd Quarter 2019.
The 14 Civil Works Packages, 2 Electromechanical Packages, and 3 Rolling Stock Packages of the NSCR System are being co-financed by the Government of Japan through JICA, and by the Asian Development Bank, and are being procured together with the PNR and the Procurement Service of the DBM, following JICA’s and the ADB’s Procurement Guidelines.
PNR Clark Phases 1 and 2 will be operational by early 2022, while PNR Calamba will be partially operational by 2022 and fully operational by 2023.