The Philippines’ Department of Transportation (DOTr) has signed two civil works contracts worth around PHP38bn ($728m) for the Malolos–Clark Railway Project.

Last July, ADB signed an agreement with the Philippine Government to provide a $1.3bn loan for the construction of the project.

The project will provide a safe, affordable, reliable and environment-friendly railway that connects the northern provinces and Metro Manila.

The signing of the contracts is expected to commence project construction, which will add jobs and accelerate local economic activity.

The Malolos–Clark Railway is part of the 163km-long North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project, which aims to connect New Clark City to Calamba by 2025.

The first contract was awarded to the Acciona Construction Philippines and EEI Corporation joint venture (JV), which will build 6.3km-long main railway lines and 1.6km of the depot access line.

The contract also includes the construction of an underground railway station at Clark International Airport.

The second contract was awarded to POSCO Engineering and Construction, which will be responsible for the construction of a 33ha depot, as well as a railway operations control centre in Mabalacat.

The DOTr is expected to award three more civil works contracts later this year.

ADB South-East Asia director general Ramesh Subramaniam said: “Today’s signing of the two civil works contracts for the Malolos–Clark Railway Project is a milestone for the Philippine Government’s landmark Build, Build, Build infrastructure development programme.

“ADB remains strongly committed to working with the government, development partners, and the private sector to deliver infrastructure for all Filipinos. The Malolos–Clark Railway is expected to be completed by 2024.

“When the entire North-South Commuter Railway system is operational, we expect up to one million passengers will ride the train daily on this modern, safe, and efficient system by 2040.”