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The different segments of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project were attempted to be implemented: 1st in 1994 together with the government of Spain and the private sector (a.k.a. Northrail Project); 2nd in 1999 together with the government of Japan (JBIC); 3rd in 2004 together with the government of South Korea (a.k.a. North-South Linkage Project); and 4th from 2002-2011 together with the government of China (a.k.a. Northrail Project)?
After more than two decades and attempts of four administrations to implement, as of June 2016, the 147-km., 35 stations NSCR Project, had zero awarded contracts, zero physical progress, and zero trains ordered / started production.
Worse, the latest attempt to implement the project ended up in a protracted legal battle in international arbitration (Northrail vs. SINOMACH), which threatened to further delay and stall progress on the NSCR Project as of June 2016.
In 2017, led by Northrail ex-officio Chairman, DOTr Secretary Art Tugade, and BCDA President Vince Dizon, a historic out-of-court Settlement Agreement of the legal dispute with SINOMACH was concluded, which saved the Philippine government more than PHP5 billion ($100 million) in potential payment of claims to SINOMACH, and hundreds of millions more in legal fees and arbitration costs. More importantly, the Settlement Agreement removed this legal obstacle to the progress of the NSCR Project.
Now, with assistance from the Japanese Government / Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), PNR Clark Phase 1 (Tutuban-Malolos; 38 km.) and PNR Clark Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark; 53 km.) are now in full swing construction, and delivery of the NSCR’s 58 8-car Train Sets (464 Train Cars or bagons) have started, with the 1st Train Set already delivered in November 2021. Meanwhile, all nine civil works contracts for the construction of PNR Calamba (Manila-Calamba; 56 km.) are about to be awarded within the 1st quarter of 2022.
As of December 2021, PNR Clark 1 has a 53.85% overall progress rate, PNR Clark 2 has a 34.46% overall progress rate, and PNR Calamba has a 28.62% overall progress rate.
The NSCR System will cut travel time from Clark International Airport to Calamba, Laguna from over 4 hours to as short as 1 hour and 30 minutes and is expected to serve more than 1 million passengers per day after full operations.
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