MANILA - Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista assured that the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project will be completed "on time" following an inspection of the Balagtas Station and Malanday Depot of the rail system in Bulacan on Wednesday.
"We will see to it that this project will be done on time and we will follow the instructions of the President-full speed ahead," Bautista said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
To date, the Balagtas station is "more than halfway" complete while the Malanday Station is 39.01 percent complete.
Both are part of Phase 1 (Tutuban-Malolos) of the NSCR, the massive 147-kilometer rail transport running from North to South in Luzon and operated by the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
Once completed, the PNR Clark Phase 1 is seen to connect Tutuban in Manila to Malolos, Bulacan and cut travel time from one hour and 30 minutes to just 35 minutes with a daily capacity of 300,000 passengers.
On the other hand, Contract Package 1 (Solis to Bocaue) of the NSCR is 31.04 percent complete, and Contract Package 2 (Balagtas to Malolos) is 58.81 percent complete-with the columns for Contract Package 2 already 75.56 percent complete.
During his inspection, Bautista tried the NSCR's new train operation simulator from Japan and checked out its new eight-car train set.
The train set is the longest electric multiple unit train set in the country, measuring 160 meters long, features a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour, and can carry up to 2,228 passengers at a time.
During the event, Bautista was accompanied by DOTr Undersecretary for Planning Timothy John Batan, Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez, Assistant Secretary for Railways Jorjette Aquino, PNR General Manager Jeremy Regino, and project contractors.
Once finished, the NSCR will have 35 stations, 464 train cars, and has an approved project cost of PHP873.62 billion by the National Economic and Development Authority.
It is expected to cater to over a million passengers a day across 28 cities and municipalities in Central Luzon, National Capital Region, and Calabarzon. (PNA)