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MANILA, Philippines – The daily morning and evening trips of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) along the Alabang to Calamba route will be temporarily stopped starting July 2.
The suspension of the two affected trips – which run at 4:38 am and 7:56 pm – is estimated to disrupt the commutes of 467 passengers on each trip every day. But the Department of Transportation (DOTr) explained that the closure will speed up the construction of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) by eight months and save up to P15 billion.
Starting next month, the existing tracks of the PNR will be fenced off to allow the NSCR’s elevated, double-track and electrified train system to be built directly on top of them. This will replace the current street level, single track, and diesel locomotive system of the PNR, according to DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez.
The following stations along the route will be closed during the construction period: Alabang, Muntinlupa, San Pedro, Biñan, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Mamatid, and Calamba.
Chavez first hinted at the closure during a House committee hearing on February 16. He also said then that the PNR Tutuban-Alabang route may also be suspended starting October 2023 to give way to the construction of the NSCR Manila-Alabang line.
The 147-kilometer NSCR was the biggest project under the Duterte administration’s “Build Build Build” program. It was originally set to commence full operations by 2023, but Chavez now estimated that it may take five more years to complete, with partial operations beginning in 2027.
Travel time from Clark Airport, Pampanga, to Calamba, Laguna, is expected to be cut to less than two hours from the usual 4 hours once the NSCR is completed. The NSCR is envisioned to integrate PNR Clark 1, PNR Clark 2, and PNR Calamba while also linking to the Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines 1 and 2, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3, and the planned Metro Manila Subway. – Rappler.com