By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA — The Marcos administration is making significant strides in improving the railway sector, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Saturday.
At a News Forum in Quezon City, DOTr Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said the Philippine National Railways (PNR), Light Railway Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2, and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) – Line 3 are “improving significantly.”
Chavez noted that the DOTr is hoping to produce additional PNR train sets by August.
He also cited increased ridership in both the MRT-3 and LRT-2 amid government efforts to improve the railway system.
“The railway projects under the Marcos administration are on the right track,” he said, stressing that the agency is fast-tracking the implementation of projects funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Asian Development Bank (ADB), as well as those under public-private partnerships.
Chavez said the seven stations from Valenzuela City in Metro Manila to the City of Malolos in Bulacan under the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project will be operational by 2027.
The 147.26-kilometer NSCR System under the “Build, Better, More” program has a total project cost of PHP873.62 billion. It will connect Clark, Pampanga and Calamba City, Laguna.
The whole system will have 35 stations and three depots composed of the original NSCR projects, the Malolos-Clark Railway Project and the South Commuter Railway Project.
Chavez also noted that about 10 stations of the MRT-7 project will be completed and operational by the third quarter of 2025.
The MRT-7 project will have 14 stations, namely Quezon North Avenue Joint Station, Quezon Memorial Circle, University Avenue, Tandang Sora, Don Antonio; Batasan, Manggahan, Dona Carmen, Regalado, Mindanao Avenue, Quirino, Sacred Heart, and Tala, all in Quezon City; and City of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan province.
It can accommodate 300,000 passengers during the first year of operations.
The project will also feature an intermodal transportation hub catering to other types of public transportation, as well as a 19-kilometer highway from San Jose del Monte to Bocaue.
Chavez said the MRT-4 project is already in the “advanced stage” and will be funded by the ADB.
“Ito po ang estado ng riles ngayon. Improving ang ating existing four operating lines (This is the status of our railway system now. Our existing four operating lines are improving),” he said.
“We’re fast-tracking the implementation of the existing rail projects and we have secured funding for the feasibility study of major railway projects for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” he added. (PNA)