DOTr: Manila-Clark railway to cut down travel time to less than an hour

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(CNN Philippines, June 26) — The Transportation Department finally revealed the 17 stations of the Manila-Clark railway project during a station-marking event in Bulacan on Monday .

The railway will run from the Tutuban and Solis stations in Manila and the cities of Caloocan and Valenzuela.

It will then pass through Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, Malolos, and Calumpit in Bulacan, then go through Pampanga via Apalit, San Fernando, Angeles, Clark, Clark International Airport, and the proposed New Clark City.

The DOTr says commuters taking the train will travel from Tutuban to Clark in only 55 minutes from the usual two to three hours. That's because each train will run as fast as 120 kilometers per hour. This is faster than the 100 kilometer per hour speed limit along the North Luzon Expressway

Construction of the 106-kilometer line will start in the last quarter of the year and will be completed in three years.

Its full operation, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade says, is targeted before 2020.

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In a media conference, however, he said they might start operating some stations should they be completed ahead of time.

Tugade says the project will help decongest traffic in Metro Manila and spur development in Central Luzon.

The railway will eventually be integrated with the Philippine National Railways - South Commuter Project, a proposed 72-kilometer railway from Manila to Los Baños, Laguna.

The Japanese government, through its official development assistance program, will fund the project worth P255 billion

Tugade says the project has been long delayed as it was initiated as early as during the time of then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004.

The DOTr said the railway aims to serve about 340,000 passengers daily on its first year of operation.

The entire line will have 13 train sets with eight coaches per set. However, the fares from station-to-station and point-to-point have yet to be released.