Tuesday, May 24, 2022
HomeBreaking NewsConstruction of PNR Bicol’s first rail line to start in Q1

Construction of PNR Bicol’s first rail line to start in Q1

  • Construction of the first 380 kilometers of the Philippine National Railways Bicol project from Banlic, Laguna to Daraga, Albay starts in Q1 2022
  • Completion of the first package is eyed in 2024
  • Start of operations is expected by Q3 2025
  • The remaining PNR Bicol contract packages are set to be completed between 2024 and 2026
  • The entire PNR Bicol line is scheduled to be operational by 2027
  • The Department of Transportation will request the Department of Finance to apply for a loan with China to finance the signed contract

Construction of the first 380 kilometers of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Bicol project is set to start in the first quarter of 2022 with completion expected in 2024. Operation is eyed by the third quarter of 2025.

The P142-billion design-build contract for the first package of PNR Bicol, also known as PNR South Long-Haul Project, was signed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Jan 17.

READ: DOTr inks P142B PNR Bicol contract

The first 380 km from Banlic, Calamba in Laguna to Daraga in Albay will span 39 cities and municipalities, four provinces, and two regions. It will involve the construction of 23 stations, 230 bridges, 10 passenger tunnels, and a 70-hectare depot in San Pablo, Laguna.

Transport Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said the transport department will now work on securing the loan financing for the first package contract of PNR Bicol.

DOTr will be requesting the Department of Finance (DOF) for project funding through an official development assistance (ODA) loan from China.

Batan earlier explained that as opposed to other ODAs, China ODA projects require that the contract come before the loan. Batan said the contract for PNR Bicol “does not become effective until the Loan Agreement with China becomes effective.”

Moreover, for China-funded contracts, Batan said the government requests from the Chinese government a shortlist of contractors that will participate in the bidding. After procurement and contract signing, DOTr will request DOF to apply for a loan with China to finance the signed contract.

The joint venture of China Railway Group Ltd., China Railway No. 3 Engineering Group Co., Ltd., and China Railway Engineering Consulting Group Co., Ltd. was recently awarded the contract for the design, construction, and electromechanical works for the project.

Batan said generally, China may finance up to 85% of the contract amount, with the balance to be funded by local counterpart budget. The final terms of the loan, including the percentage to be financed by China, will be subject to loan negotiations by DOF.

After DOF successfully negotiates the loan, DOF signs the loan agreement with China.

The remaining PNR Bicol contract packages are set for completion between 2024 and 2026. The entire PNR Bicol line is scheduled to be operational by 2027.

Once operational, PNR Bicol will have a total length of 560 km and 35 stations. It will run from Manila through Laguna, Quezon, Camarines Sur, and then to Albay, with an extension line in Sorsogon and a branch line in Batangas.

With a design speed of 120 km to160 km per hour for passenger trains and 80 km to 100 km per hour for freight trains, PNR Bicol is expected to reduce travel time between Manila and Legazpi City in Albay from the present 14 to 18 hours to just six hours using regular commuter trains, and 4 hours and 30 minutes using the line’s express trains.

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