Rail system extension to Nueva Ecija, Cagayan being eyed

The Philippine National Railways (PNR) is looking to extend the railway network to Nueva Ecija and Cagayan.

These rail extensions are being considered as the 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) System Project – previously divided into three projects: the 38-kilometer PNR Clark 1 from Tutuban to Malolos, the 53-kilometer PNR Clark 2 from Malolos to Clark International Airport, and the 56-kilometer PNR Calamba from Solis to Calamba – is under development.

PNR general manager Jun B. Magno said they have asked the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to conduct feasibility studies for two possible extensions: (1) between Balagtas, Bulacan and Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija; (2) between San Jose City also in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac City. These lines will be connected to the NSCR System.

“And then possibly, they are doing a feasibility study of the Cagayan railroad, maybe through the Caraballo mountain tunnel. Because if Central Luzon becomes part of the GCR (Greater Capital Region), the new rice bowl would be Cagayan Valley,” Magno added.

The NSCR System Project will be financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

According to government, the NSCR System will be built using “cutting-edge Japanese technologies–ranging from platform screen doors, signaling, and rolling stocks to flood resilience and anti-seismic designs.”

“This is a system immune from all the heartache and exasperation with our existing commuter rail services. This is a railway system that we can be truly proud of,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said, January 21, during the signing of the first tranche of loan agreement with JICA for the Malolos to Clark and Solis to Calamba segment of NSCR System. Loan agreement with JICA for the Tutuban to Malolos segment is already signed.