DOTr fastracks north-south rail

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    The Department of Transportation is on track to complete the first two segments of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project before the end of the Duterte administration.

    “We have a lot of catching up to do with so little time left. That’s why I have been pushing, and pressuring the railway sector really hard to fast-track the construction works in the best way possible,” said Arthur Tugade, DOTr secretary.

    The NSCR’s first leg, the PNR Clark Phase 1 which runs from Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan, has an overall progress rate of 43 percent and a construction phase rate of 11.78 percent as of January 2021.

    The PNR Clark Phase 1 is partially operable by the fourth quarter of 2021.

    Full operations are set in the second quarter of 2024, according to Philippine National Railways (PNR) general manager Junn Magno said.

    Magno said PNR Clark Phase 1 targets to slash travel time between Tutuban and Malolos from one hour and 30 minutes to just 35 minutes and will increase railway capacity to 330,000 passengers per day.

    Meanwhile, PNR Clark Phase 2 which will stretch from Malolos, Bulacan to Clark, Pampanga, has five civil works contract packages signed.

    Magno said the project’s development has recorded an overall progress rate of 27.79 percent as of Jan. 31, 2021.

    In this segment, there are ongoing pre-construction works and site visits.

    PNR Clark Phase 2 will break ground 2021. Once completed, travel time between Bulacan and Pampanga will be slashed from the current one hour and 30 minutes to just 35 minutes.

    Magno said PNR Clark Phase 2 features the country’s first airport express service. This means travel time from Makati City going to Clark, Pampanga will only be around 55 minutes, compared to more than two hours by car.

    The 54-kilometer second segment of the NSCR will be partially operational by the second quarter of 2023, while the full operation is targeted by the third quarter of 2024. The segment aims to accommodate 150,000 passengers per day.