THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) rescheduled the publication of the procurement process for the North-South Railway Project to first week of June from its original schedule in May.
“It should be published within the week,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message.
Earlier, the DOTC said it was scheduled to begin the procurement process for the PNR railway expansion later this month. Called the North-South Railway Project, this undertaking aims to revive PNR’s services from Malolos to Tutuban as its North Line and Tutuban to Legazpi City as its South Line by the end of 2020.
Last month, the DOTC published an Invitation to Bid for a rail track improvement project for the Philippine National Railways (PNR) worth P144.38 million ($3.2 million) as part of its efforts to revive and improve Southeast Asia’s oldest railway system.
The project will add a second track to run parallel to the single track currently connecting the Sucat and Alabang stations, by adding 3.97 kilometers of rails which will allow simultaneous two-way traffic to run in that section.
PNR’s rails are currently double-tracked from Tutuban to Sucat only.
The award and start of construction of the project are targeted by the third quarter of 2015, and the winning bidder will have 200 calendar days to complete the construction of the double-track railway.
The state-owned PNR is temporarily not operating for safety reasons as the status of its rail tracks are being investigated by management following a derailment incident on April 29 near its Magallanes station.
The investigation is expected to yield a precise inventory of missing or needed parts such as rail joints, angle bars, and rail clips, which will then be procured and installed in order to allow the PNR to resume its operations as soon as possible.
Prior to the incident, the railway system had been servicing the Tutuban-Calamba route daily.
The PNR is also expecting the arrival of two second-hand donated trains from Japan in the coming weeks.
Besides replacing missing parts and constructing double-track rails, the PNR has other rehabilitation projects for near-term implementation, such as roofing extension to shield passengers from heat and rain, installation of turnstiles in major stations, and rail and comfort room rehabilitation.
These immediate improvements are targeted for completion by the end of 2015 or early next year.
PNR has average daily commuters of about 70,000.