By Freddie Velez
MARILAO, Bulacan – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) marked its first PNR station in Bulacan last Monday, one of the stations of the 106-kilometer (km) Manila- Clark Railway project under President Duterte’s ‘Build Build Build’ infrastructure program.
“For the first time, a rail project would connect Manila to Central Luzon,” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said.
Tugade added that DOTr hopes to finish the term of President Duterte with at least 1,000 kilometers of railway system all over the country.
The entire rail line would have 13 train sets with eight cars or coaches per train set. Each train could reach a maximum speed of 120 km per hour. The rail line with a total of 17 stations would run from Tutuban passing through Marilao and Malolos and all the way to the Clark International Airport and the proposed New Clark City in Pampanga.
Aside from significantly reducing the two to three hours travel time from Manila to Clark to just 55 minutes, the rail project is seen to decongest Metro Manila and spur development in its peripheries.
“This project would ease traffic congestion and help thousands of commuters coming from Bulacan and Pampanga to travel daily to their workplaces or schools in Manila” shares Philippine National Railways (PNR) general manager Jun Magno.
The PNR North railway project is one of the 61 infrastructure projects under the ‘Build Build Build’ infrastructure program of the Duterte administration. Construction would begin in the last quarter of 2017 with target completion in 2021. The project costing P255 billion would be funded through Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan.
On its first year of operations, about 350,000 passengers daily would benefit from the Manila-Clark Railway project.
Aside from Tugade and Magno, present during the PNR North Station Marking event were Japan’s Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, PNR director general Roberto Lastimoso and Japan International Cooperation Agency chief representative Susumo Ito.
The five of the 17 stations that were marked in a ceremony last Monday include Meycauayan in Bulacan as well as Valenzuela, Caloocan, and Tutuban in Manila.
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