NSCR, South Long Haul projects to 'revive' PH railway industry

By: Philippine Resources November 27, 2023

One of the new trains of the Philippine National Railways - Clark Phase 1 during an inspection in Valenzuela City on Jan. 26, 2022. Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said Friday (Nov. 24, 2023) that the North-South Commuter Railway and the South Long Haul projects would usher in a "renaissance" in the country's railway sector, providing jobs, boosting the economy, and providing connection across the country. (Photo courtesy of DOTr)

The country’s railway industry will be “revived” once the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) and the South Long Haul (SLH) flagship projects are completed, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said Friday.

During the 131st anniversary of the Philippine National Railways (PNR), Bautista said the two projects would elevate the country’s railway industry to global standards.

“Tayo ay gagawa ng isang railroad network na world-class – maipagmamalaki hindi lamang sa Asya, kundi pati na sa buong mundo. Mga bago, moderno, at mabilis na tren na tatakbo mula Clark hanggang Calamba patuloy hanggang Bicol (We will build a railroad network that is world-class – one we’ll be proud of not only in Asia but the whole world. There will be new, modern, and fast trains running from Clark to Calamba, and all the way to Bicol),” he said.

The NSCR and SLH, he said, would usher in a “renaissance” of the country’s rail industry and would provide connectivity, as the two rail projects will link Metro Manila to regions in northern and southern Luzon.

The projects will generate jobs, boost economic growth, and help ease traffic congestion.

“Trabaho, maunlad na ekonomiya, at maaasahang transportasyong pampubliko. Ito ang pangako ng NSCR at South Long Haul Project para sa Pilipino (Jobs, a vibrant economy, and reliable public transport. These are what the NSCR and SLH projects promise to the Filipino people),” he said.

The NSCR – a 147-km. railway system – will have 35 stations, 51 commuter train sets, and seven express train sets that will serve up to 600,000 passengers daily.

Once completed, it is expected to cut travel time from Calamba, Laguna to Clark, Pampanga from the present 4.5 hours by road to less than two hours by train.

On the other hand, the SLH is a 577-km., 33-station railway from Metro Manila, passing through Batangas, all the way to Bicol.

The SLH will reduce travel time from Manila to Legazpi in Albay from the present 14 hours to 18 hours by road to a six-hour ride by regular commuter trains or a 4.5-hour commute by express trains.

During the event, Bautista also commended the PNR for its continued service as the country’s first mass transport system.

The Manila-Dagupan Ferrocarril Line served as the primary entry and exit point in Manila in 1892 and was later renamed the Manila Railroad Company by American colonists.

In 1938, the railroad network was extended to Bicol – from San Fernando, La Union to Legazpi, Albay – and is the longest railroad network that ever existed in the country’s history.

It was renamed into the PNR on June 20, 1964, under Republic Act 4156. By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

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