P144M PNR railway upgrade now open for bidding

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PNRThe Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is seeking bidders to the P144.378- million rail track improvement project it will undertake to help the Philippine National Railways (PNR) enhance its services.

The project, part of DOTC’s effort to revive and improve Southeast Asia’s oldest railway system, will add a second track that will run parallel to the single track currently connecting the Sucat and Alabang stations. This entails putting up 3.97 kilometers of rails to allow simultaneous two-way traffic to run in that section. At present, PNR’s rails have double tracks from Tutuban to Sucat only.

Prospective bidders can purchase bid documents starting May 25. A pre-bid conference open to all interested parties is scheduled on May 26, while the submission and opening of bids is set for June 9.

Awarding of the project and onset of construction are targeted for the third quarter of 2015, and the winning bidder has 200 calendar days to complete laying down the double-rail tracks.

The operations of state-owned PNR have been temporarily stopped for safety reasons as management investigates the condition of its rail tracks following the April 29 derailment incident near its Magallanes station. Prior to the incident, the railway system had been servicing the Tutuban-Calamba route daily.

The probe is expected to yield an inventory of missing or needed parts such as rail joints, angle bars, and rail clips, which will then be procured and installed to allow the PNR to resume operations.

DOTC is scheduled to begin later this month the procurement process for its long-term solution to revitalize the PNR. This project, called the North-South Railway Project, aims to revive PNR’s services from Malolos to Tutuban as its North Line and Tutuban to Legazpi City as its South Line by the end of 2020.

DOTC said PNR is also expecting the arrival in the coming weeks of two second-hand trains donated by Japan.

Aside from replacing missing parts and constructing double-track rails, PNR has other rehabilitation projects for near-term implementation, such as a roofing extension to shield passengers from sun and rain, installation of turnstiles at major stations, and rail and comfort room rehabilitation. These immediate improvements are targeted for completion by the end of 2015 or early next year.