Rail is due to be part again of travel ways in the Philippines with the development of new rail routes from Manila. One of the priority project is the new rail link which will connect Philippines capital to the future air transport hub at Clark International Airport. It would take only one hour to reach the airport instead of the current two-to-three-hour travel time.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of US$2.8 billion to finance a 53km railway linking Malolos, a suburb north of Philippine capital Manila, to Clark economic zone and Clark International Airport in central Luzon while the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will provide another US$2 billion to be used to purchase trains, to put up electrical and mechanical systems and build train maintenance and depots. For the ADB, which is based in Manila, it t will be ADB’s single largest infrastructure project financing ever.
The Malolos-Clark railway is due to open partially by 2022 and be fully completed by 2025 when it reaches Calamba in Laguna province, offering a north-south commuter rail line of over 160 km. In its first phase, authorities expect that the new route will carry 342,000 passengers per day between Manila and Clark International Airport with eight stops along the line -Malolos, Blumentritt, Calumpit and Apalit in Metro Manila and San Fernando, Angeles, Clark, and Clark International Airport. Blumentritt and Malolos will be connected to the LRT system.
Train should rapidly become a popular option as it would cut down travel time to only one hour instead two to three hours today. The project is part of the government’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) program is clearly steering the much-needed acceleration in infrastructure spending, from less than 2% of GDP a decade ago to 6.3% now, well on track to achieve the 7% target by 2022.
The project will generally help cutting road congestion in Metro Manila, as well as reducing air pollution and transport costs. It is part of a large coordinated development of other investments in rail services such as the expansion of the light rail transit, the construction of an underground rail transit. According to ADB, it will bring back the culture of rail transport in Metro Manila. All the projects will be able to cater for a million passengers per day.
A new air terminal is currently under construction at Clark International Airport, which is due to open by 2020. It would help boosting total capacity to 12 million instead of the current two-million passenger’s capacity. The construction is already completed by 65%.