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Philippines Embarks on Ambitious Railway Project to Transform Commuting and Trade

Construction has commenced on the North-South Commuter Railway Project, a significant infrastructure endeavor spanning 147.26 kilometers from Clark in Pampanga to Metro Manila and onward to Calamba City in Laguna, according to the Philippine National Railways (PNR). PNR Chairman Michael Ted Macapagal revealed that the railway project aims to alleviate traffic congestion not only in Metro Manila but also in neighboring provinces and is expected to be completed during the tenure of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.


(Illustration c/o adb.org)



The funding for this ambitious project, estimated at P873.62 billion, is being provided by the Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Acciona-DMCI and Leighton-First Balfor have been entrusted with the construction of elevated rails for commuters and ground-level rails for freight. As part of the plan, three depots and 35 stations will be established along the route.



In a ceremony held at Malacañang in April 2023, Marcos and Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista were present to witness the signing of the contracts. Sumitomo Corporation and Japan Transport Engineering Company, two Japanese firms, will initially supply a fleet of 13 electric multiple units, each consisting of 13 cars.


Upon completion, the North-South Commuter Railway Project is expected to accommodate a daily passenger volume of 800,000 individuals, offering enhanced safety and comfort. Travel time along the entire length of the railway system will be reduced by half, from four hours to two hours, benefiting both passengers and the movement of goods.


Macapagal, who assumed his position on April 28, expressed gratitude for being part of this historic milestone and stated that Marcos would be remembered as the "father of the Philippine railway system" after taking his oath of office before the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

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