COMPLETION of infrastructure work on the 53km Malolos - Clark section of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) in the Philippines has been delayed.

Work is now expected to finish in June 2025 instead of October 2024 as originally scheduled.

According to the Department of Transportation (DoTr), the nine-month delay has been caused by two major issues with Package N-05, the construction contract awarded to Posco Engineering and Construction of Korea.

“First, there are delays in the handover of land to the contractor,” says DoTr undersecretary for railways, Mr Cesar Chavez.

“Second, there are delayed payments. The payments are five months delayed, but are expected to be settled next month.”

Delays in clearing trees from the 36ha site in Clark where a rolling stock depot and operations control centre are to be built have resulted in the land being handed over to Posco behind schedule.

The depot will have 33 stabling tracks and a further 12 in its maintenance area. Construction was over 33% complete as of December 31 2022, according to DoTr.

“This is a very important part of the NSCR,” says transportation secretary, Mr Jaime Bautista.

“The operations control centre is the heart of operations. It is then important that we complete this as planned and on time. There are issues that need to be resolved. DoTr will work closely with the contractor.”

“We promised the president that we will finish the project as agreed on the timeline that we set,” Bautista continues. “I just want to see to it that we work together and finish this project on time.”

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