Construction of Malolos–Clark Railway Project to start soon

The Philippines’ Department of Transportation has signed two civil works contracts totalling nearly Php 38 billion (US$728 million) for the flagship Malolos - Clark Railway Project, which is financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The railway project aims to construct a safe, affordable, reliable, and environment-friendly line connecting the northern provinces and the capital, Metro Manila. The contract signing will jumpstart the construction phase of the project, create much-needed jobs, and boost local economic activity, said ADB in its statement.

“This project means a lot to the Republic of the Philippines, to our countrymen, in terms of making their lives comfortable,” said Arthur Tugade, secretary of the Department of Transportation. “I want to send a message to the Filipino people that we have never stopped working, we have kept the ball rolling to deliver the much-needed transport infrastructure projects of the country. This is our own way of saying ‘Build, Build, Build continues’.”

“Today’s signing of the two civil works contracts for the Malolos–Clark Railway Project is a milestone for the Philippine government’s landmark Build, Build, Build infrastructure development programme,” said Ramesh Subramaniam, ADB director general for Southeast Asia. “ADB remains strongly committed to working with the government, development partners, and the private sector to deliver infrastructure for all Filipinos.

“The Malolos–Clark railway is expected to be completed by 2024. When the entire North–South Commuter railway system is operational, we expect up to one million passengers will ride the train daily on this modern, safe, and efficient system by 2040.” 

The Malolos–Clark Railway Project, part of the 163-km North–South Commuter Railway Project, will ease road congestion in the capital and nearby provinces and reduce annual traffic-related economic costs, which total US$18 billion in Metro Manila alone. It will help push economic activity to regional growth centre like Clark in Pampanga province.

The project is intended to cut the travel time between Clark and Manila from two to three hours by bus to one hour by train, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60,000 t annually. In addition, the project is expected to create about 24,000 local construction jobs in the next three years and 14,000 more jobs related to the railway system’s operation. ADB said it will lead to larger, indirect employment and economic benefits to local businesses, such as suppliers of raw materials, which in turn will create more jobs.

One of the contracts, which was awarded to the joint venture of Spain’s Acciona Construction Philippines and EEI Corporation, will build about 6.3 km of main railway lines and 1.6 km of depot access line, including an underground railway station at Clark International Airport.

The other contract, which was awarded to South Korea’s Posco Engineering and Construction Co Ltd, will erect a 33-ha depot and a railway operations control centre in Mabalacat, Pampanga. ADB said three more contracts for civil works are set to be awarded later this year.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is co-financing the project, will provide up to US$2 billion in additional funding for the rolling stock and railway systems.

Image: ADB, courtesy of JICA