The Department of Transportation has initiated the selection process for consultants who will be responsible for conducting feasibility studies on four railway projects, collectively spanning a distance of 1,024 kilometres.
During his second State of the Nation address on July 24, President Marcos stated that the lines will facilitate access and transportation to significant and active economic markets, including agriculture hubs, tourism areas, and critical business districts.
According to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, a budget of 600 million pesos has been set for the aforementioned studies, which are anticipated to require a duration beyond one year for their completion.
The most substantial among the four projects is the proposed North Long Haul line, spanning a distance of 853 kilometres. The proposal entails the development of a Y-shaped non-electrified extension of the standard gauge suburban railway now under construction in the northern region of Manila.
One of the branches would establish a connection between the intended endpoint at New Clark City and San Fernando, passing through Tarlac City. This route, spanning 260 km north of the capital, closely aligns with the path of PNR’s Main Line North, which ceased operations in 1988. The proposed alignment, spanning a distance of 159 kilometres, would result in a reduction of approximately 16 km compared to the existing route with a gauge of 1,067 millimetres.
The proposed second branch is projected to extend in a northeastern direction, connecting New Clark City to Aparri. This route predominantly aligns with the path of a previously established railway that was constructed during the latter part of the 19th century.
One such initiative proposes the establishment of a 100-kilometre north-south route on Panay Island, which would connect Roxas City and Iloilo City.
The research will additionally generate recommendations for the implementation of a 54 km section of a proposed network on the island of Mindanao.
The project with the least distance among the four is the San Mateo railway, spanning around 17 kilometres. Its purpose is to establish a connection between the suburb of Rodriguez, located in the northeastern region of Manila, and the LRT Line 2 in the capital city. This connection will be facilitated by traversing through Marikina City and San Mateo.