Malolos-Clark Railway Project (MCRP) is a proposed 53.1km-long railway line being constructed to connect Malolos to Clark economic zone and Clark International Airport (CIA) in central Luzon, Phillipines.

The elevated railway line will be developed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It will be the first airport express railway service in the country.

The project is a part of the 163km-long North-South Commuter Railway project (NSCR), which aims to connect New Clark City to Calamba by 2025. NSCR is a flagship project of the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure development programme aimed at reducing traffic congestion in Metro Manila and boosting economic growth.

MCRP is expected to reduce the travel time to less than one hour, upon completion in 2025.

Malolos-Clark railway project details

MCRP will be constructed as two rail segments, including a 51.2km section connecting Malolos City to Clark regional growth centre and a 1.9km extension connecting the NSCR to the Blumentritt Station in Manila.

The project will include the construction of an underground station at the CIA, which will offer short connections. It will also include bridges and viaducts for the elevated part of the railway line.

MCRP will have a total of seven elevated stations featuring two separate platforms with a right-of-way (ROW) width of 60m.

Stations will feature elevators and escalators for easy passenger movement, and automatic fare control systems, including ticket vending machines, gates, fare adjustment machines, data collecting machines, and office booking machines.

Rolling stock and ridership

Electric multiple unit (EMU) trains will run on the new line in three categories, including commuter train, express commuter train, and airport limited express train. The trains will operate at a maximum speed of 160km/h.

The new railway line is expected to accommodate an estimated daily ridership of 81,000 people by 2022.

Malolos-Clark railway project infrastructure

MCRP will include a maintenance depot spread across an area of 40ha at Sacobia area near CIA. The facility will also serve as a central command office for carrying out operations of the mainline.

“MCRP will serve approximately 342,000 passengers a day along the Manila-Clark corridor and up to 696,000 passengers to Calamba.”

The depot layout will mainly include operation control centre, main workshop, car washing track, light repair shop, track maintenance base, and stabling yard.

An administration building will also be constructed, which will house control rooms, offices, kitchens, toilets, and workshop.

MCRP financing

The total estimated cost of the project is $6.1bn, which will be co-financed by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and JICA.

ADB signed a $1.3bn loan agreement with the Government of the Philippines for the construction of the MCRP in July 2019, which is the first tranche of the total $2.75bn loan facility agreed to be provided by the bank for the project. The bank will release two additional tranches by 2022.

ADB will mainly finance the civil works of the project including stations, bridges, viaducts, and tunnels. JICA will provide $2bn to finance the rolling stock and railway systems.

Benefits of Malolos-Clark railway project

MCRP will serve approximately 342,000 passengers a day along the Manila-Clark corridor and up to 696,000 passengers to Calamba. It will minimise road congestion in and around Metro Manila, as well as reduce air pollution and transport and logistics costs while boosting economic growth.

The project will require approximately 23,900 personnel during pre-construction and construction phases. It will create employment for 1,400 people during the operation phase.

Contractors involved

Oriental Consultants Global, a company based in Japan, received a contract to provide detailed design for Malolos-Clark railway project in May 2018.