The Philippines’ capital region is suffering from a severe case of overcrowding – more specifically on its roads. This statement holds especially true for Metro Manila, whose state of traffic has been ranked as the worst in Southeast Asia in 2020.
Although the situation seems insurmountable to most of us, particularly those who frequently use public transport as a means to travel, the national government isn’t giving in just yet.
Through its Build! Build! Build! Program, the government aims to establish key infrastructures to lessen the burden of traffic in the National Capital Region. And included in that national strategy is the Tutuban-Malolos Railway Project – more prominently addressed as the PNR Clark Phase I.
Where will it run?
The PNR Clark Phase I Project is a 38-kilometer rail line that will connect Manila and Bulacan. The new transit line will link to the existing station of Tutuban and will establish new stations going to Malolos.
The 10 stations will be:
Here’s what some of the stations might look like once finished:
The usual 1 hour and 30 minute travel time between the two ends of the line (Tutuban and Malolos) is expected to be cut down to only 30 minutes once the line is operational. It’s expected to accommodate over 300,000 passengers a day.
Part of a bigger project?
As some of you might not know, the PNR Clark Phase I Project is part of an even larger railway plan from the government – to be more specific, the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR).
NSCR is a 148-kilometer mega-rail plan, which aims to connect New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to Calamba, Laguna. The infrastructure, which is divided into three individual phases, will boast 36 stations once complete and will connect Central Luzon, Metro Manila, and Calabarzon under one railway network.
How much does it cost?
The rail project has an overall price tag of Php 149.13 billion. It’s funded by Japan Official Development Assistance.
Who will build it?
The Duterte Administration awarded the contract for the construction of Phase I’s Tutuban-Bocaue line to Japanese and Filipino contractors DMCI Holdings and Taisei Corporation.
For Bocaue to Malolos, the Japanese construction company Sumitomo-Mitsui Construction Co. Ltd was chosen.
Clearing operations and other pre-construction work for the project began in 2018. Meanwhile, the groundbreaking for the Tutuban-Malolos Railway Line occurred in February of 2019.
When will it operate?
At present, the PNR Clark Phase I is 45.82 percent complete and is scheduled to be finished in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the Department of Transportation.
Partial operations of the rail line will begin in the same period while full operations are not expected until the second quarter of 2024.
In March, DOTr’s Secretary Arthur Tugade announced the fast-tracking of the project’s construction.
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Image credit: Department of Transportation (DOTr)