THE president of the Philippines, Mr Ferdinand Marcos, has led the ceremonial signing of contracts for work on the 56km central section of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR).

The central section of the NSCR will connect Malolos, Bulacan, with Clark International Airport in Pampanga province, and Tutuban with Calamba in Laguna province.

The two contract packages include the 7.9km S02, involving construction of an elevated section of line together with three stations at España, Santa Mesa and Paco, with a value of Pesos 28bn ($US 505.1m). The contract for the 6.1km S03B is for civil engineering, tunnelling and building work including construction of Food Terminal Junction (FTI) station and tunnelling to connect the NSCR to Senate station on the Metro Manila Subway Project, and has a value of Pesos 23.9bn.

S02 has been awarded to a joint venture of Acciona Construction Philippines and DM Consunji, and S03B to a joint venture of Hong Kong-based Leighton Contractors Asia and First Balfour.

The two contracts were signed on behalf of the government by transport secretary, Mr Jaime Bautista.

A PNR train for the North-South Commuter Railway at the factory at Yokohama, Japan. The first trains was delivered to the Philippines on November 21, 2021. Photo credit: Department of Transportation (Philippines)/Wikipedia Commons

Marcos said completion of the NSCR will see the journey time between Clark International Airport and Calamba reduced to two hours, and that the line would also help to reduce traffic congestion while acting as a spur to economic development and environmental sustainability.

“In its entirety, with a total length of 147.26km of railway, the [NSCR] mega-project will be a massive boost to our overall transportation infrastructure [and] will benefit up to 800,000 passengers per day,” Marcos said.

In March Philippines Department of Transportation (DOTr) signed an agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) to deliver integrated railway systems for the extension of the NSCR, and MC in turn awarded a consortium of Alstom and Colas Rail a turnkey contract covering the line’s two sections, including deployment of ERTMS Level 2 for the first time in southeast Asia. 

Completion of the Malolos - Clark section of the NSCR is expected in June 2025, while completion of the NSCR’s extensions is expected in 2029.

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