THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) in the Philippines has announced that construction of the 142km North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) will begin by February next year.

“We’ll begin pre-construction activities by the latter part of 2022, and by February 2023 we’ll begin full scale construction works,” says DoTr undersecretary, Mr Timothy John Batan.

NSCR is the largest railway project ever undertaken in the Philippines, according to Batan, and is being funded by a loan of $US 4.3bn from the Asian Development Bank. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) is financing railway systems and rolling stock.

The new railway will run from Clark International Airport in Pampanga to Calamba in Laguna. The end-to-end journey time on the 142km route is expected to be 1h 45min, around half the time required to travel by road.

When fully operational, NSCR is expected to have capacity to handle 350,000 passengers a day, providing interchange with other new rail projects including the Metro Manila Subway.

DoTr recently signed four civil works contracts worth a total of $US 1.87bn, covering the 55km southern section of NSCR from Manila to Calamba, known as the South Commuter Railway Project (SCRP).

NSCR is expected to create 10,000 jobs during the construction phase jobs.

Batan said that homeowners and informal settlers affected by the construction of NSCR would have a suitable new home and adequate compensation for their property.

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