The North-South Commuter Railway in the Philippines (NSCR), also known as the Clark–Calamba Railway, is a 148-kilometer urban rail transit system currently under construction in the island of Luzon, Philippines, primarily in the Greater Manila Area.
The project comprises two components, the first of which is a 653km including 478km mainline and 175km extension, long-haul passenger rail line from Tutuban, Manila, to Legazpi, Bicol, with possible extensions from Calamba, Laguna, to Batangas City a distance of 58km, and from Legazpi, Albay, to Matnog, Sorsogon a distance of 117km.
The second component includes a 56km commuter rail line or the NSCR for daily riders on the Tutuban, Manila to Calamba, Laguna route with two additional sections including the 38km PNR Clark Phase one from Tutuban to Malolos, and the 53km PNR Clark Phase two from Malolos to Clark.
The entire route will have a total of 36 stations.
Scope of the project
The North-South Railway Project includes restoration and renovation of the existing track for safe use, as well as upgrades for attaining a design speed of 75km/h and allowing a maximum permissible axle load of 15t.
It will also include the repair and replacement of more than 420 bridges, the development of 15 stations and three depots, the installation of electromechanical, signaling, communication, and automatic fare collection systems.
The new line will be served by diesel-powered multiple unit rolling stock that will constitute 14 electric multiple unit-based, eight-car trains, which will be increased to 32 by the year 2044.
North-South Commuter Railway in the Philippines Project team
The US$ 15.8bn North-South Railway Project is developed jointly by the Philippines’ Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Philippines National Railways (PNR) with subsidies from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Export-Import Bank of China.
CPCS Transcom (CPCS) is acting as the lead transaction advisor and will also conduct pre-investment studies to assess feasibility, structure the project as a PPP, and provide support during the tender and negotiation processes.
Taisei Corporation and D.M. Consunji joint venture are undertaking the construction of the first package of phase one of the commuter rail, while the second package will be carried out by a consortium of Sumitomo-Mitsui Construction.
NSTren Consortium is the construction supervision consultant for phase one of the project.
Sumitomo Corporation will supply 104 train sets for phase one of the commuter rail by February 2023.
The North-South Railway Project was approved by the National Economic and Development Agency (NEDA) Board in February 2015.
In January, the pre-construction work such as clearing of the right of way for the project began.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the project, starting with PNR Clark Phase one, was held in February and the actual construction work started right after.
In January, the 54-kilometer PNR Clark Phase 2 segment, which will run from Malolos in Bulacan to Clark in Pampanga, was reportedly 27.79% complete. The pre-construction activities for the project such as site inspections at the Clark International Airport (CRK) and Apalit Station were ongoing.
The construction of the North-South Commuter Railway Extension particularly the PNR Clark Phase two that upon completion will deliver the Southeast Asia country’s first airport railway express service, begun in September.
In October, DOTr announced that the first train set for the PNR Clark Phase 1 was undergoing factory acceptance testing (FAT) in Japan to ensure that it meets its “intended purpose” and complies with international standards such as the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS), prior to its delivery.
The Department of Transportation signed an agreement with NLEX Corporation over the construction of columns for the PNR Clark Phase 2 Project. Under the agreement, columns for PNR Clark will be constructed in the shoulders and median island that will cross above the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway to allow seamless operations of both the expressway and the railway.
The DOTR and NLEX will also coordinate for the project design, traffic management plan, safety plan, and security plan.
DOTr announced that the first of the 13 rolling stock sets procured from the Japan Transport Company and Sumitomo Corporation Joint Venture for PNR Clark Phase 1, had arrived in the Philippines.
The rolling stock, which is the same as the eight-car train set that underwent testing in Japan back in October 2021, has passed factory acceptance tests and is already at the Port of Manila. It will be transferred to the Philippine National Railways depot in Malanday next month (Decmber 2021) after the shipment has cleared customs.
According to DOTr, the second set will be delivered by the second quarter of next year (2021).