The Department of Transportation (DOTr) in the Philippines has entered an agreement to procure rolling stock for the flagship PNR Clark Phase I project.

The PHP12.1bn ($240m) agreement, representing the third package of the project, was signed with a Japanese joint venture (JV) comprising Sumitomo and Japan Transport Engineering Company (J-TREC).

Under the contract, the Japanese consortium will deliver 104 vehicles configured into 13 eight-car train sets. Each of these train sets will be designed to accommodate up to 2,242 passengers.

The deliveries of the vehicles are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2021.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said: “Today, I talked to our partners and we have agreed to do a fast-track mechanism that the train sets shall be delivered no later than the third quarter of 2021.”

The PNR Clark Phase I is a 37.6km mass railway transportation system that will connect Tutuban in Manila to Malolos in Bulacan.

It forms a part of the larger North-South Commuter Railway Project, the construction works of which commenced in February with the groundbreaking of PNR Clark Phase I.

Once fully operational, PNR Clark Phase I is estimated to transport more than 300,000 passengers every day, reducing travel time between Manila to Bulacan from one and a half hours to 35 minutes.

The first package of the project involved the construction of elevated structures, a depot in Valenzuela and six stations. The second package encompassed civil works of elevated structures and the construction of the line’s last three stations.

Contracts to deliver both these packages were signed earlier this year.

In January, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) awarded a JPY167.199bn ($1.53bn) loan for the North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project.