South line of PH North-South railway development open for bids


ID-100334310The most ambitious undertaking to date of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)—the North-South Railway Project (NSRP)—is seeking bidders for the P170.7-billion South Line of the project.

“This is our biggest project yet: the revival of the oldest rail system in Southeast Asia, beginning with the Manila-Legazpi section plus additional branch lines totaling 653 kilometers,” Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement.

“Rail systems are a driver for inclusive socio-economic growth,” Abaya said, adding that rails encourage trade and business activity, and provide employment and educational opportunities.

“The PNR, once a symbol of the country’s economic progress, should be modernized into a safe, convenient, and efficient system by 2020,” he noted.

DOTC, together with the Philippine National Railways (PNR), in a bid invitation, is calling on local and international companies to join the bidding for its ninth public-private partnership project. The bidding will be conducted in two stages, with the pre-qualification date targeted within the fourth quarter of 2015. Three local conglomerates—Metro Pacific Investments Corp., San Miguel Corp., and Ayala Corp.—have already expressed their interest.

Under the project’s terms, the winning bidder will design, construct, finance, operate, and maintain the following services: the 56-kilometer commuter rail service for daily riders on the Tutuban, Manila to Calamba, Laguna route; the 478-kilometer long-haul rail service for travelers on the Tutuban, Manila to Legazpi, Albay route; the 58-kilometer rail length from Calamba, Laguna to Batangas City, Batangas; and the 117-kilometer rail from Legazpi, Albay to Matnog, Sorsogon.

“This project will impact directly on a grassroots level. Those who have less in life, especially farmers and fisherfolk, will be given efficient means to expand their livelihood. This is our biggest project yet, and this is for those who need it most,” Abaya said.

Once the entire railway is operational in 2020, there will be 10 daily trips with seven train sets passing through 66 stations. It is expected to generate a demand of 316,000 passengers per day on its opening year, and entice around 44,000 public and private vehicle users to shift their commutes to the modernized railway.

Opening of bids is expected to be held in January 2016, and awarding is set for March 2016. The winning bidder will operate, maintain, and upgrade the South Line for 34 years, which include the construction period of four years.

Image courtesy of phaendin at