THE TRAIN sets for the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), which will also be used for the section of the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) that will be initially operational, will start arriving in the Philippines in December. 

“NSCR trains will start arriving in December 2021, and it will be the NSCR trains that are intended to be initially used in MMSP’s partial operability section,” Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John R. Batan said in a statement to BusinessWorld on July 19. 

He said the Metro Manila Subway and the North-South Commuter Railway are designed to be “physically interoperable.” 

The Transportation department started seeking bidders for the tunneling works contract connecting the North-South Commuter Railway Project to the Metro Manila Subway Project via a station in Taguig City in April. The deadline for submission of bids was set for July 8. 

The package covers the construction of the commuter railway’s FTI Station in Taguig and tunneling works to connect the project to the Senate Station, which is also in Taguig, of the Metro Manila Subway Project. 

The 148-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway Project is financed by the Asian Development Bank. It will run from Clark in Central Luzon to Calamba, Laguna.  

The NSCR will have 37 stations and 464 train cars. It is expected to accommodate about 830,000 passengers per day once fully operational. 

The Transportation department said the NSCR “encompasses three railway projects, including the PNR (Philippine National Railways) Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban – Malolos), which is a 38-kilometer rail line that will connect Tutuban, Manila to Malolos, Bulacan, and is projected to reduce travel time from approximately one hour and 30 minutes to just 35 minutes.” 

As for the subway project, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade has said he will continue to press the government’s private partners to finish the portion of the subway due to open for partial operations by December. 

The Metro Manila Subway will have 17 stations: East Valenzuela, Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, Katipunan, Ortigas, Shaw, Kalayaan Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Lawton, Senate, FTI, NAIA Terminal 3, and Bicutan. 

The government broke ground on the first three stations in February 2019 after the Transportation department signed a P51-billion deal with the Shimizu joint venture, which consists of Shimizu Corp., Fujita Corp., Takenaka Civil Engineering Co. Ltd., and EEI Corp. 

The Philippines and Japan signed in March 2018 the first tranche of the P355.6-billion loan for the subway project.   

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