North–South Commuter Railway
|PNR North–South Commuter Railway|
Artist rendering of the new Tutuban railway station.
Airport rail link
|System||Philippine National Railways|
|Status||NSCR North 1: Under construction|
NSCR North 2: Approved
NSCR South: Approved
|Locale||Central Luzon, Metro Manila, Calabarzon|
|Termini||New Clark City|
|Opened||2021 (initial North section service)|
2023 (full operations)
|Owner||Department of Transportation|
Philippine National Railways
|Line length||147 km (91 mi) total|
91 km (57 mi) (North section)
56 km (35 mi) (South section)
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||1,500 V DC OHLE|
|Operating speed||120 km/h (75 mph) (commuter service)|
160 km/h (99 mph) (airport express)
The North–South Commuter Railway or NSCR, also known as the Clark–Calamba Railway, is a 147 kilometer elevated railway under construction. It will run from New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to Calamba, Laguna, with a total of 36 stations. It will also feature the first direct airport link in the country, serving Clark International Airport.
Utilizing the old right-of-way of Philippine National Railways, the NSCR will form one railway system serving commuters travelling to, from, and within Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon. The project will also restore historical station buildings.
Originally planned in the 1990s as the Manila–Clark rapid railway system with Spain, it was cancelled after disagreement on the funding. It was then revived as the NorthRail project, but was cancelled again in March 2011, due to anomalies with the contract and the foreign contractor, as well as allegations of being overpriced.
NSCR will be a double-track fully elevated railway system and will feature barrier-free access as well as metro-grade rolling stock. It will also be linked to existing and future railway lines such as Line 8, Line 9, the PNR South Long Haul and PNR Calamba-Batangas City Railway.
- 1 History
- 2 Design
- 3 Route
- 4 Rolling stock
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Manila–Clark rapid railway system
A railway system running from Manila to Clark was set to be constructed in the 1990s, when then President Fidel Ramos signed a memorandum of agreement with Juan Carlos I of Spain for its construction on September of 1994. On August 24, 1995, North Luzon Railways was formed as a subsidiary of Bases Conversion and Development Authority. The NLRC then entered into an engineering, procurement and construction contract (EPRC) with the Spanish Railways Corporation on February 7, 1996, but the contract was later terminated on August 14, 1998, after the parties disagreed on the source of funding for the project.
On September 1999, the NEDA-ICC later approved the project, then known as the Manila–Clark rapid railway system, with Phase 1 covering the Caloocan–Calumpit segment and the source of funding to be the Obuchi Fund from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. Right-of-way clearing and relocation of informal settlers began, but a presidential directive later halted the clearing activities, and the JBIC loan never happened.
On September 14, 2002, a memorandum of understanding was signed by NorthRail and China National Machinery and Equipment Group (CNMEG) for the project. It was later approved as the NorthRail project on August 5, 2003, with the first phase covering Caloocan to Malolos segment. The project was estimated to cost around US$500 million, and the funding was to be covered by a US$400 million by the Export–Import Bank of China, and the rest to be shouldered by the government through BCDA and NLRC.
The project involved the upgrading of the existing single track to an elevated dual-track system, converting the rail gauge from narrow gauge to standard gauge, and linking Manila to Malolos City in Bulacan and further on to Angeles City, Clark Special Economic Zone and the Clark International Airport. Preparatory construction began in early November 2006. Due to delays in the construction work, it was soon renegotiated with the Chinese government. Construction temporarily continued in January 2009 with the support of the North Luzon Railways Corporation.
The NorthRail project was cancelled in March 2011, due to a series of delays, work stoppages, a controversy and anomalies with the foreign contractor. According to then DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, the Chinese were open to reconfiguring the project, and that he was meeting with his Chinese counterpart in a month's time. However, nothing materialized out of these talks.
The Philippine Supreme Court handed down in March 2012 a decision giving a lower court the go-signal to hear the case calling for the annulment of the allegedly overpriced contract. Instead of settling the entire US$184 million due in 2012, the Department of Finance will pay Export-Import Bank of China 4 equal payments of $46 million starting September 2012. National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Arsenio Balisacan said the 80-kilometer Northrail project would resume within the term of President Benigno Aquino III, but despite this announcement, the Northrail project was scrapped and replaced under different terms with different contractors.
The Department of Transportation and Communications has examined reviving the project by commissioning a feasibility study by CPCS Transcom Ltd. of Canada. Part of the study examined having a Malolos–Tutuban–Calamba–Los Baños commuter line.
A feasibility study for the North–South Commuter Railway was still ongoing when the NEDA approved the dream plan in 2014.
On November 2017, DOTr, BCDA, and North Luzon Railways reached an out-of-court settlement with Sinomach, resolving the five-year dispute. The new name for the project was announced by Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on June 25, 2017 with a ceremony in which the first 5 stations were given their location markers.
NSCR North (Tutuban–Malolos–Clark)
NSCR North, also known as PNR Clark, was divided into two phases. NSCR North 1 involves the 37.6 kilometer Tutuban-Malolos segment, while NSCR North 2 involves the 74 kilometer Malolos–Clark Railway. The 106-kilometer railway line, when fully completed, will run from Tutuban Station in Manila to New Clark City (NCC), passing through Clark International Airport (CIA).
Pre-construction work such as clearing of the right of way was started on January 2018. The groundbreaking and construction from Tutuban to Malolos started on February 15, 2019. The contract for the construction of PNR North 1 was awarded to the Filipino-Japanese consortium of DMCI Holdings and Taisei Corporation on May 21, 2019.
On the other hand, the first three contracts for the construction NSCR North 2 had been opened on August 2019. A record 11 firms from various ADB member countries participated in the bid.
NSCR South (Solis–Calamba)
The existing Metro Commuter Line will be reconstructed as an electrified standard-gauge full double-track line. Funding for the project, which costs ₱131 billion, is provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and is expected to serve 300,000 passengers a day at its initial year of operation. The 55.6 kilometer railway will run from Solis in Manila to Calamba in Laguna.
The line will be the first commuter rail system in the country to be mostly grade-separated. Trains are designed to run at a design speed of 120 km/h for regular trains and 160 km/h for airport express trains.
All stations will have a standard layout, with a concourse level and a platform level. Stations will either have island platforms or side platforms with platform screen doors. The stations will be designed to have barrier-free design, and trains shall have spaces for passengers using wheelchairs.
The train stations are also designed to adhere to both Philippine and Japanese standards.
The table below shows the proposed train operation schedule and stations for the line.
|Commuter||Commuter express||Limited express||Through service to/from|
|NSCR North 2||New Clark City (NCC)||Capas, Tarlac||●||●|
|Clark International Airport (CIA)||Mabalacat, Pampanga||｜||●||｜||●||●|
|San Fernando||San Fernando, Pampanga||●||●||●||●||｜|
|NSCR North 1|
|Tabing Ilog||Marilao, Bulacan||●||●||｜||｜||｜|
|Tutuban||●||｜||●||●||｜||●||｜||Tutuban (Line 2)|
|NSCR South||Blumentritt||●||●||●||●||｜||Blumentritt (Line 1)|
|España||●||●||●||●||｜||Antipolo (Line 8)|
|Santa Mesa||●||●||●||●||｜||Pureza (Line 2)|
|EDSA||●||●||●||●||｜||Magallanes (Line 3)|
|Nichols||Taguig||●||●||｜||｜||｜||Lawton West (Line 9)|
|FTI||●||●||●||●||●||FTI (Line 9)|
|Sucat||Muntinlupa||●||●||●||●||｜||●||PNR South Long Haul|
|San Pedro||San Pedro, Laguna||●||●||｜||｜||●|
|Santa Rosa||Santa Rosa, Laguna||●||●||●||●||●|
|Stations in italics will open in 2030.|
The North–South Commuter Railway will have provisions for additional stations to be added.
|Rolling stock||Commuter train||Airport express|
|Manufacturer||Japan Transport Engineering Company||Japan Transport Engineering Company|
|Number to be built||TBD||TBD|
|Height||4,150mm (when pantograph is folded)
1,130~1,150 mm (floor height)
|Body material||Light weight stainless steel||TBD|
|Empty weight||152,000 kg (4 car Train set)||TBD|
|Capacity||Leading car: 266 seated, 45 standing
Intermediate car: 285 seated. 54 standing
(7 passengers m²)
|Doors||4 doors per side||TBD|
|Traction power||1,500 V overhead catenary||1,500 V overhead catenary|
|Top speed||120 km/h||160 km/h|
|Status||To be built||To be ordered|
- Metro Manila Rapid Transit Network
- List of rail transit stations in the Greater Manila Area
- Manila Metro Rail Transit System
- Manila Light Rail Transit System
- Philippine National Railways
- Department of Transportation (DOTr)
- Transportation in the Philippines
- Transportation in Metro Manila
- Metro Manila Dream Plan
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