MANILA - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) signed a contract on Tuesday with Japanese firms for the production of trains for a new railway stretching from Tutuban in Manila to Malolos in Bulacan.
The new 37.6-kilometer railway promises to cut travel time between Tutuban and Malolos to just 35 minutes from the current 1.5 hours.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade led the formal contract signing for the project with Japanese companies Sumitomo Corp and Japan Transport Engineering Company.
The contract covers the production of 13 trainsets, with each trainset having 8 cars or 104 coaches in total.
A prototype of the train, which is designed to carry 2,242 passengers, was presented to the members of the media.
"This is the reason why we are all here today—to sign an agreement where the trains you see, the prototype you see, will come into fruition by 2021. The first agenda is to come to an agreement and principle that we will strive to work together so that we will realize the Tutuban to Malolos route by the end of 2021," Tugade said.
The project is worth P12.1 billion and is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. It is the third of four contracts signed for the railway.
DOTr said Contract Package 1, signed on May 20, covers the construction of a depot and six train stations namely: Solis in Tondo, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao, and Bocaue.
Contract Package 2, meanwhile was signed on January 23 and covers the construction of stations in Balagtas, Guiguinto and Malolos.
Tugade said they expect delivery of the first batch of trains for the Tutuban-Malolos segment by the third quarter of 2021.
Tugade hopes the new railway can be partially operational by the end of 2021, and for it to be fully operational by 2022.
The DOTr said the construction of all these train stations is already in "full swing."
The Tutuban-Malolos railway, dubbed as PNR Clark Phase 1, is part of a planned train system that will stretch from Pampanga to Laguna, called the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR).
- With a report from John Mark Guda, ABS-CBN News