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DOTr: NSCR, South Long Haul to revive PH rail industry

STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION. The segment of the North South Commuters Railway in Sto. Tomas in Pampanga looks busy to meet completion in 2026. (TONETTE T. OREJAS)

The game-changing North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) and South Long Haul (SLH) rail projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Philippine National Railways (PNR) are expected to revive the country’s rail industry.

During the historic 131st PNR anniversary on Friday, Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said the NSCR and SLH will elevate the country’s railway to global standards, while generating jobs, boosting economic growth, and easing traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

“Tayo ay gagawa ng isang railroad network na world-class – maipagmamalaki hindi lamang sa Asya, kundi pati na sa buong mundo. Mga bago, moderno, at mabilis na tren na tatakbo mula Clark hanggang Calamba patuloy hanggang Bicol,” Sec. Bautista said.

The transport chief said the NSCR and SLH will provide much needed critical connectivity to Filipino people as the two mass rail infrastructures will link Metro Manila to the regions in northern and southern Luzon.

“Trabaho. Maunlad na ekonomiya. At maaasahang transportasyong pampubliko. Ito ang pangako ng NSCR at South Long-Haul Project para sa Pilipino,” according to the Secretary.

“There is no doubt the NSCR and SLH Project will usher in the renaissance of the rail industry in the country,” Bautista emphasized.

A massive 147-kilometer railway system, the NSCR will have 35 stations and will run on 51 commuter train sets and seven express train sets.

The NSCR is expected to cut travel time from Calamba, Laguna to Clark, Pampanga from the current 4.5 hours travel time to just less than two hours, and service 600,000 passengers daily on full operations.

The entire South Long Haul Project, meanwhile, is a 577-kilometer and 33-station rail connection from Metro Manila to Batangas and Bicol.

Once completed, the rail line will reduce travel time from Manila to Legazpi from the present 14 to 18 hours to six hours, using regular commuter trains and 4.5 hours, using the line’s express trains.