24/7 efforts promised to get Manila-Clark trains running on time

Manila Clark 1
Deadlines for the project have been set, and round-the-clock efforts are promised

Marilao, Meycauayan, Valenzuela, Caloocan, and Tutuban will be the first five stations of a new railway to connect Manila with Clark Airport.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has also said that work on the 225-billion peso line will be conducted on a 24/7 basis in order to have it open to passengers by the end of 2021.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has vowed that the 107km “will be completed under the Duterte administration”.

He said: “This big project, it used to be just all talk. But under the Duterte administration, we will make it a reality. For the first time, a rail project will connect Manila to Central Luzon and it will be completed under the Duterte administration.”

Eleven further stations will be added, at Solis, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, Malolos, Calumpit, Apalit, San Fernando, Angeles, Clark, Clark International Airport and New Clark City.

The railway — which will cut travel times between the capital and Clark to less than an hour — is one of the president’s “high-impact projects” as part of his “Build Build Build” infrastructure programme.

The government intends to spend 8.4 trillion pesos on a so-called ‘golden age of infrastructure’ over the next six years, with 860.7 billion pesos allocated to large-scale projects such as the new railway.

“The rail system stands to benefit 350,000 passengers daily on its first year of operations,” a statement from the transportation department said.

Philippine National Railways (PNR) General Manager Junn Magno said the project would help decongest and disperse economic activity.

“This project will ease traffic congestion and help thousands of commuters coming from Bulacan and Pampanga who travel daily to their workplaces or schools in Metro Manila,” he said.

The line will carry 13 locomotives — capable of reaching 120kph — each with eight carriages.