Sumitomo Mitsui starts building Philippines’ biggest railway
BULACAN, NNA - Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. of Japan has begun building the first phase of the Philippines’ largest railway project under the government’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.
The North-South Commuter Rail (NSCR) will be a 147-kilometer line linking 26 municipalities from central Luzon to Calamba in the country’s southwest. Sumitomo Mitsui won the contract for the first phase of the PNR Clark portion of the project.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) last month signed off on the first tranche of a 167.2-billion-yen ($1.4 billion) loan agreement with Manila for the NSCR, estimated to cost 628.42 billion pesos ($11.97 billion) in total.
The Department of Transport (DOTr) described the project as a fully elevated, dual-track, high-capacity commuter railway system with 37 stations, expected to be in full operation by 2023.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony Friday in Malolos, in the central Luzon province of Bulacan, Undersecretary for Railways Timothy Batan said construction of all NSCR phases would begin this year. He said the new railway would put an end to four-hour commutes and “expand opportunities for livelihood, businesses and personal development.”
The first phase of the PNR Clark is a 38-kilometer line linking Tutuban in the capital Manila to Malolos. It is expected to cut travel time to 35 minutes, with capacity of about 340,000 passengers daily once operational in 2021, according to a (DOTr) statement on its official Facebook page.
The second phase will be a 53-kilometer line from Malolos to Clark in the province of Pampanga, and the 56-kilometer PNR Calamba connecting Calamba in Laguna Province to Manila.