P51-B airport railway launched
The country’s first airport railway express service soon starts construction after the government and proponents signed the P50.8-billion contract packages for PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark) segment of the P777.5-billion North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) virtually over the weekend (August 1, 2020).
The construction is expected to generate 38,000 new local jobs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade led the virtual signing of the contracts, marking the start of civil works for the 53-km extension that will bring passengers from Makati City in Metro Manila to Clark International Airport in Pampanga in just under one hour.
The first signing was for the P32.7-billion Contract Package N-04, which covers the civil engineering and building works 6.3 kilometers of the main line and 1.6 kilometers of the depot’s access line with an underground station serving Clark International Airport.
They also signed the P18.1-billion Contract Package N-05, which covers the civil engineering and building works for the Clark Railway Depot.
The depot covers an overall area of approximately 33 hectares.
The contract covers the construction of the Operations Control Center, stabling yard, workshops, training center and other ancillary buildings in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
This proves that flagship projects under the government’s BUILD, BUILD, BUILD program continues despite challenges posed by the pandemic, Tugade underscored.
The PNR Clark Phase 2 paves the way for the country’s first-ever airport railway express service, he reiterated.
“Since the NSCR will feature the country’s first airport express train service allowing travellers to get from Makati to Clark Airport in under one hour, we can consider it as a trail-blazing project, ” the DOTr Secretary elaborated.
“To achieve this, trains will run at 160 kilometers per hour, making it one of the fastest modes of land public transportation.”
The signing of contracts is likewise timely, noted Asian Development Bank (ADB) Southeast Asia Director General Ramesh Subramaniam.
“The civil works contracts will help kickstart the economic revival of the Philippines over the next 12 months as the country faces the pandemic ” he pointed out.
Under the railway project, we estimate that 24,000 local construction jobs will be directly created during the next three years.
And another at least 14,000 jobs needed for operating the railway system,” according to Subramaniam.
The signing of contracts is a major milestone for the Malolos-Clark Railway Project as well as for the Philippine transport sector, he added.
Once partially operational by 2022, PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark), a 53-km rail line segment, will connect Malolos, Bulacan to Clark International Airport, will cut down travel time to 30-35 minutes, from the original 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The DOTr signed contract Package N-04 was virtually signed with Acciona Construction Philippines, through Director Ruben Eugenio Garcia and Chief Financial Officer Angel Fernandez de la Pradilla, and EEI Corporation, through President and CEO Roberto Jose Castillo. Contract Package N-05 was virtually signed with POSCO Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd., through Executive Vice President Dong Ho Kim and POSCO E&C Vice President Sung Wook Chung.