Last month, we reported that the first PNR Clark trainsets have arrived in the country. The 8-car trainset was the first of 18 planned for delivery within the coming year. Now, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary has shared that Balagtas Station in Bulacan is 95 percent complete.
Balagtas Station is part of Phase 1 of the PNR Clark project. It's one of the stations under construction for the North-South Commuter Railway System (NCSR). Phase 1 of PNR Clark will reportedly improve travel times between densely populated areas inside and outside Metro Manila.
According to Tugade, traveling between Tutuban in Manila and Malolos, Bulacan will shorten from 1 hour and 30 minutes to only 30 minutes. The DOTr expects Phase 1 to service up to 300,000 passengers daily.
As the stations become operable, motorists could experience less traffic in the northern parts of Metro Manila, especially in expressways like the Skyway Stage 3, which lead out of Quezon City and into Bulacan.
Construction is ongoing for multiple stations of the NCSR project. The plan spans 147 kilometers and will have 35 stations upon completion. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is aiding the project.
Tugade says six more NCSR stations are expected to take shape within two years, spanning 53 kilometers from Malolos to Clark International Airport. In 2021, 19 more stations will begin construction, covering 56 kilometers from the ongoing PNR Calamba project. It will offer passengers a quicker ride from Manila to Calamba in Laguna.
The DOTr is working hard to maintain its set completion timeline. It will be a while before PNR Clark Phase 1 welcomes passengers, but as the photos show, we can look forward to a state-of-the-art train system that will help many commuters get to their destinations faster. We'll have to wait a bit longer to see it come to fruition.