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Old April 6th, 2004, 06:51 AM   #1
ryanr
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Railroad Infrastructure and Transportation

We finally have great news for this project!! Here we go!

North Rail project launched
RP, China start building rail project from Manila to Ilocos

By EDMER F. PANESA & WILLIE CATAPAT

The Philippine and Chinese governments yesterday broke ground and launched the first phase of the most awaited North Rail Manila-to-Ilocos project aimed at reviving and modernizing rail transport north of Manila that has been abandoned for a quarter of a century.


China’s new ambassador to the Philippines, Wu Hongbo, reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment of a new 20-year concessionary financing for the rail project. House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. envisioned the project as a major boost to the economy.

De Venecia said the project begins the opening phase of a well-planned effort to rebuild the country’s railway system in North and South Luzon and on Panay Island in the Visayas and build the first rail system in Mindanao in a hundred years.

"This will be a lasting legacy of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the Filipino nation. The railways will open up communities to greater trade and economic opportunities — and will unite our people," De Venecia said.

In his speech, De Venecia, on behalf of the Philippine government, expressed gratitude to Chinese President Hu Jintao, his predecessor Jiang Zemin and China’s new head of parliament Wu Bangguo and the leader he succeeded, Li Peng, for their relentless effort to the Philippine railway modernization project.

The first phase of the modernized South Rail to Sorsogon will be launched with the Manila-to-Calamba (Laguna) line, which will be financed by the South Korean government.

According to Philippine National Railways (PNR) general manager Jose Ma. Sarasola II, China is providing $400-million in concessionary financing for the Caloocan City to Malolos (Bulacan) line, which will eventually extend to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (formerly Clark Air base) in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Sarasola said the Phase II of the project is the line branching out to the Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales.

He added that Phase III covers the line from Caloocan to the Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, while Phase IV extends the line all the way to north to San Fernando, La Union passing through Pampanga, Tarlac, and Pangasinan.

Minister Mao Qian of the Chinese Embassy called the project as the "largest Chinese project in Southeast Asia," and the first 20-year concessionary loan even extended by China to any government in three percent interest and includes a five-year grace period.

Sarasola said 23 Chinese engineers are already in the country for final technical deliberations on the project, a double track system that will use narrow gauge tracks compatible with PNR lines.

The system will use diesel multiple units with a design that can be upgraded to electrified system that China successfully developed.

When completed, the 32-kilometer line is estimated to ferry 350,000 commuters daily, including those from the LRT and MRT lines with which North Rail will be interconnected.

The PNR, Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), and its subsidiary, the North Luzon Railways Corp., Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Chinese government-owned National Machinery and Equipment Corp., are jointly undertaking the North Rail project.

Meanwhile, the DOTC and PNR are now working on the clearing and relocation of some 35,000 squatter families that built shanties dangerously close to the rail tracks.

The two agencies are now coordinating with Housing Secretary Michael Defensor.

The Chinese government is also partly financing the squatter relocation to new sites with a new housing.

The project is the initial phase of an ambitious national railway modernization program proposed by De Venecia and to which China and South Korea have already pledged substantial financing.

Last week, an international consortium backed by the governments of Germany, Austria, France, Thailand and India jointly pledged over R500 million to complete the feasibility studies for the Mindanaowide rail system, which President Arroyo and De Venecia have envisioned to open the island’s economy and unify its Christian, Muslim and Lumad communities.


Groundbreaking


The formal groundbreaking and launching of the Caloocan-Malolos phase of the North Rail project was held yesterday at the Caloocan City terminal of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) attended by top Philippine and Chinese government officials.

Speaker Jose de Venecia, one of the proponents of the project, said the launching of the first phase will signal the revival and modernization of the rail transport north of Manila that has been abandoned for almost a quarter of century.

Also on hand during the occasion were Caloocan City government officials, led by Mayor Rey Malonzo, China’s ambassador to the Philippines Wu Hongbo, Department of the Transportation and Communications (DoTC) officials and other representatives from government agencies involved in the project.

De Venecia thanked the government the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Chinese President Hu Jintao, and his predecessor Jiang Zemin for their relentless support to the Philippine rail modernization project.

China is providing $400 million in concessionary financing for the Caloocan City to Malolos line, which will extend to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, according to PNR general manager Jose Ma. Sarasola II.

He said Phase II of the project is in the line branching out to the Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales. Phase II covers the line from Caloocan to the Fort Bonifacio Global City while Phase IV extends the line all the way to San Fernando in La Union passing through Pampanga, Tarlac, and Pampanga.

Sarasola said 23 Chinese engineers are already in the country for the final technical deliberation on the double-track system that will use narrow gauge tracks compatible to PNR lines. (Willie Catapat)

---------------

Superb! Looking forward to this getting completed. Surely one step in the right direction for Luzon's economy. It is also a sign of DMIA getting ready to be a major international airport in the region.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 09:43 AM   #2
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wow that is great finally a modern railway system for our country is on the track that is really superb, jst imagine the huge benefit this rail system will do for our economy, im proud of it for our country and people, thanks for the generous countries like china who provided financing and who believes in our country and government
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Old April 6th, 2004, 02:31 PM   #3
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indeed...

I noticed that they are gonna be using Diesel trains that can be upgraded to electric powered trains. I wonder when they will upgrade. The original plan was to use high speed trains to link BGC to the Clark airport, but i guess they will only do that when the airport is built.

If only we had renderings and pics of the project and trains.
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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:52 AM   #4
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All systems go for $503-million Northrail project

All systems go for the construction of the $503-million North Rail Transit that will initially cover Caloocan to Malolos, Bulacan but eventually reach up to Ilocos.

North Luzon Railways Corporation (Northrail) President Jose L. Cortes, Jr. said the first phase of the project spans 32.2 kilometers from from Caloocan to Malolos.

It will have six stations namely: Caloocan, Malabon, Valenzuela (main depot), Bocaue, Marilao and Malolos.

For the first time in Philippine railway history, the country will have a double track system.

"This will result in simultaneous rail operations in both the north and south bound tracks," he said.

The project also includes reviving the Philippine National Railway (PNR) Main Line North which has been non-operational for more than 25 years.

The Northrail will have a diesel powered train capable of a top speed of 120 kph but will cruise at speeds of 80 to 100 kph.

The maximum travel time from Caloocan to Malolos will be 45 minutes which compared to buses which average 145 minutes of travel time for the same route.

Cortes said the initial fare rate will be R10 boarding fare plus R1 for every kilometer for a total fare of R42 from Caloocan to Malolos. "This is very much cheaper than other land-based transportation averaging R70," he pointed out.

The Northrail project is part of the Strong Republic Transit System composed of various railway projects around the country.

At the start of Northrail’s initial operations, passengers would be able to interconnect with the Southrail and eventually with LRT-1 and MRT3 without having to get out of the common terminal in Caloocan.

Of the $503 million, $421 million will be funded by the Chinese Government through the ExportImport Bank of China under very concessional terms.

The terms include 20 years repayment period inclusive of a five-year grace period at three percent interest rate. "This is the first of its kind from China," noted Cortes.

The remaining $82 million will be funded by the Philippine government as counterpart fund which would already incorporate expenses for squatter relocation.

Target completion date for the project is on 2007. The Northrail is expected to spur economic growth in both Central Luzon and Metro Manila with the faster delivery of goods and services, alleviate traffic congestion in Metro Manila and improve Metro Manila’s environmental condition.(EHL)
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Old April 7th, 2004, 06:02 AM   #5
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Before the economic crisis, the planned trains were Spanish built electricity driven trains that can cruise at a speed of 210 kph. Sigh...oh well this is still very good. And they did say that they can upgrade the trains to electric trains.

for the northrail project. BTW, where they hell is Malolos? I've been wondering for a long time now.
When will they reach clark? Phase II?
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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:03 PM   #6
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Additional info...

Chinese bank grants $400-m fund to Northrail project

The Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) extended a $400-m loan to finance the construction and rehabilitation of the first segment of the Northrail Project, covering 32 kilometers of rail from Caloocan City to Malolos, Bulacan.

The project involves the reconstruction and conversion of the existing Philippine National Railways (PNR) track into a double track version; land acquisition; utilities diversion; procurement of 30 four-car diesel multiple unit (DMU) type trains; and provisions for a train control and signaling system.

China Eximbank will finance 79% of the total project cost estimated at $503m, while North Luzon Railways Corp. (NLRC) will shoulder 21% through commercial loans.

To be completed in 2-3 years, the railway would initially service six stations along Caloocan, Valenzuela, Marilao, Bocaue, Guiguinto, and Malolos, and a depot in Valenzuela City.

The project is expected to provide an effective transport service for passengers and goods between Metro Manila and Central Luzon connecting former military bases such as Fort Bonifacio, Clark Air Base, Subic, and Poro Point.

The second phase of the project will link Bulacan to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga.
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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:07 PM   #7
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Possible appearance of the trains....DMU's in England






Not bad...Since Northrail is new, trains might look better than these. Plus, they can be upgraded to electric powered trains.

For more information on DMU's check out this website: http://www.o-keating.com/hsr/dmu.htm
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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:14 PM   #8
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Some of the best looking DMUs: Hopefully our trains will be as good or better than these...



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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyX
BTW, where they hell is Malolos? I've been wondering for a long time now.
malolos is in bulacan. still far from clark.
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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:46 PM   #10
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Oh.. I wonder when they will start Phase II then, which will go all the way to Clark. This project sounds like it could take many, many years...
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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:47 PM   #11
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i was actually hoping it would be something similar to the bullet trains of japan.

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Old April 7th, 2004, 03:55 PM   #12
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No way!! We aint rich enough for those...maybe in like 2050 or something hehe

the DMU's are a good start (much better than PNR) and they can be upgraded to faster electric trains that can to the high 100's to 200 km/h

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Old April 7th, 2004, 05:46 PM   #13
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So it's clear that we're not getting second hand trains from China?
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Old April 7th, 2004, 05:51 PM   #14
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Doubt it...but i'm not sure where we are getting the trains from. I hope they are brand new and are some of the latest models. $503 million USD is quite a lot, so lets just see.
I just posted DMU trains in England to give an idea of how the trains might look like.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 01:42 AM   #15
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i think they should do phase 1 & 2 all together, because commute time from clark to manila is long and no tourists would be willing to travel more than 1 to 2 hour. besides if the gov't want to get investors t invest in clark, they need the infrastructure.

i hope we get nice trains too =)
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Old April 8th, 2004, 03:28 AM   #16
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some more good news!!! if projects like these continue to come, i'd surely vote for GMA!!! hehehehe....

2007 sounds pretty good. it takes forever to settle disputes on relocation of squatters... that sucks. hope that by 2010, Phase II and Phase III (which isn't too long) will be completed. just in time for the end of GMA's 2nd term. hahaha... hopefully the DMIA will be built up into something like NAIA 3 by that time as well... or bigger... that would be sweeeeet!!

oh yeah, re: the trains, I earlier read on DOTC's site this article about how the country had already recieved the shipments of donated trains from China even before the railway was built because China didn't wanna keep them any longer. the ones that were to be used for Northrail??? weird though, cuz I read on another article also on DOTC's site that they had ordered steel instead of aluminum trains from China to keep costs down. so that means they bought new trains cuz they had an option and they had to keep costs down. who knows...? I hope they're as good or better than the ones GreyX posted above...

Last edited by absent-minded; April 8th, 2004 at 03:33 AM.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 03:59 AM   #17
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yeah i hope they are nice trains and aerodynamic! and hope they are not reject or left over from china! =)
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Old April 8th, 2004, 06:13 AM   #18
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man greyx u should know where malolos is :P

anyways at least we have trains. imo it's wise not go all the way to Malolos, they need to see if there are faults, problems, etc. that way it would be changed or fixed before they move it all the way to Clark
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Old April 8th, 2004, 05:41 PM   #19
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well, i dont know much about Bulacan...

What do you mean its wise not to go all the way to Malolos? they are going to Malolos. but yeah, they could fix things up before they go all the way to Clark

Absent, so just to get things clear, are we using Chinese surplus trains? or are we gonna get new trains? If we are getting surplus trains, how do they look like, are they reasonably new?
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Old April 8th, 2004, 08:41 PM   #20
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i mean Clark
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