In fulfillment of the Duterte administration’s goal of ushering the Philippines into a Golden Age of Infrastructure, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) pushes through with the delivery of big-ticket transport projects that will significantly enhance mobility and connectivity across the archipelago.
With less than a year left to complete vital transport infrastructure projects, the DoTr, under the leadership of Secretary Art Tugade, has pulled all stops to realize the earnest aspiration of this administration to provide every Filipino with a life of comfort and convenience.
One path to reach this goal is through the continuous development of the country’s railway system. The DoTr believes that railway assets are a crucial component of desired urban development with its vital socio-economic benefits.
As such, the Duterte administration is looking to expand the country’s railway network from only 77 kilometers to over 1,200 kilometers. To carry out this objective, several railway projects are now under construction, while one has already been finished.
With their impact, progress and transformation, some railway projects stood out to be remarkable to the public that made rounds on social media. One YouTube video even featured DoTr projects, filing them as the “Top 6 Railway Projects in the Philippines.” These are the six most trending DoTr high-impact railway projects that have been the talk of the town recently.
First is the massive MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project. To provide the riding public with a more efficient and effective service, the MRT-3 continues to be revitalized with massive and comprehensive rehabilitation works. The project officially commenced in May 2019 under its Japanese contractor, Sumitomo Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and TES Philippines. Since then, they have done rail replacement, restoration of Light Rail Vehicles (LRV), signaling, communication station, depot and station equipment, among others.
With the extensive work at the MRT-3, the line’s running trains have already increased from 15 to 22, the operating speed doubled from the previous 30 kilometers per hour to 60 kph, and the waiting time for passengers in between trains to further be reduced from seven minutes to four minutes.
Second is the LRT-2 East Extension, which was finally inaugurated on 1 July 2021 by no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself. The rail line aims to cut travel time between Manila and Antipolo from the usual three hours by car or bus to just 40 minutes.
Third on the list is the “Project of the Century” — the Metro Manila Subway. What was once a pipe dream is now turning to reality as the underground works for this project are expected to commence this year, with the arrival of tunnel boring machines in the country. Once completed, the country’s first subway will reduce travel time between Quezon City to the NAIA Terminal 3 from one hour and 10 minutes to just 35 minutes.
Moving on to number 4 is the massive North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), which is composed of three segments: the PNR Clark Phase 1, PNR Clark Phase 2, and PNR Calamba. This is the largest ongoing railway project.
The first segment, the PNR Clark Phase 1, will slash travel time between Tutuban, Manila and Malolos, Bulacan from one hour and 30 minutes by bus or car to just 35 minutes. Meanwhile, PNR Clark Phase 2 will connect Malolos to Clark, Pampanga within just 30 to 35 minutes and will feature the country’s first airport rail express service. The PNR Calamba — the third and final leg of the NSCR — aims to cut travel time between Manila and Calamba, Laguna from three hours to only one hour once completed.
Fifth on the list is the much-awaited railway project to the south of Metro Manila, the LRT-1 Cavite Extension. After almost two decades and three administrations, the construction of the LRT-1 Cavite Extension is now in full swing. Once completed, travel time between Baclaran and Bacoor in Cavite will be reduced from one hour and 10 minutes to only 25 minutes.
Rounding off the list is the MRT-7. The construction of this rail line is now halfway complete. Once completed, the project aims to cut travel time between Quezon City and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan from two to three hours on the road to just 35 minutes.
While there are many other projects that are in the pipeline, these six railway projects are what we can say the most distinct to date. We can see them, experience them, and we hope that they come into fruition at the soonest possible time. These projects prove that dreams are not far-fetched but are attainable, doable, and possible.