The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has started the inspection of train coaches the Philippine National Railways (PNR) has purchased for its Clark Phase 1 project.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade led the inspection of the trains purchased from the Japan Transport Engineering Company and Sumitomo Corporation as part of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) system.
Tugade, in his Facebook post, said 58 train sets are expected to operate in the entire NSCR from the Clark to Calamba City in Laguna, from where the “Bicol Express” segment will start.
Despite failed attempts to build such a rail system since 1994, with the latest resulting in a protracted legal battle in an international arbitration between Northrail and SINOMACH in 2016, Tugade said the 38-kilometer PNR Clark Phase 1 (from Tutuban to Malolos) and Phase 2 (53-km long from Malolos to Clark) are now “in full swing construction.”
In addition, he said the delivery of the NSCR’s 58 eight-car train sets, or a total of 464 train cars, has started after the first train set was delivered in November 2021.
When completed, travel time between Tutuban and Malolos City will be reduced to only 35 minutes only from the current 1.5 hours, Tugade said.
Both PNR Clark Phase 1 and 2 are funded through assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
On the other hand, all nine civil works contracts for the construction of PNR Calamba—56-km long from Manila to Calamba—are expected to be awarded within the first quarter of 2022.
Tugade said to date, PNR Clark 1 is now 53.85% complete while PNR Clark 2 stands at 34.46%, and PNR Calamba at 28.62% complete.