THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) has tapped China Railway Design Corp. (CRDC) as the project management consultant for the first phase of the Mindanao Railway.

In a livestreamed signing ceremony, transport officials highlighted the benefits of the future railway, which they claim should start partial operations by March 2022—the same month when they will also start construction.

“Based on the indicative timeline, the detailed engineering design will be from the first quarter of 2022 to the third quarter of 2022. Right of way acquisition and clearing by the fourth quarter of 2021, procurement stage is for the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, and the construction phase from the second quarter of 2022 through 2023; partial operations by March 2022, and full operations by June of 2023,” Transportation Assistant Secretary for Project Implementation-Mindanao Cluster Eymard D. Eje said.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said he is “pleased” to hear that the construction phase will also coincide with the partial operations of the massive railway.

“This project will not only be started, but it will have partial operability by March 2022,” Tugade said.

The BusinessMirror sought for clarification on what the DOTr officials meant by “partial operations” as a one-month construction of at least two stations and the delivery of the needed trains might take more than a month to finish, at least when compared to historical timelines for railway construction.

Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran gave this explanation: “DOTr, in coordination with PNR, is pushing to realize partial operability of a segment within Tagum to Carmen, to be able to undertake a test run of Mindanao Rail. Designed to be interoperable with other long-haul passenger and freight lines, including PNR Bicol and Subic-Clark Railway, Mindanao Rail is able to utilize trains designed for these other lines. DOTr is working with the Chinese Embassy to expedite ODA procedures for Mindanao Rail, and is also working with Congress and the Senate to reinstate budget for Mindanao Rail for 2022.”

Under the consultancy deal, CRDC shall assist the Mindanao Railway Project Management Office (PMO) in the “preparation and management of the overall project implementation program.”

“This includes land acquisition activities, coordination with various government agencies, having authorities over or associated with the design and the works in the project, prepare and submit to the PMO cost estimates for budget approval and necessary updated and review of the detailed design for the project,” Eje explained.

According to its web site, CRDC has undertaken international projects such as Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Railway, Thailand Railway, China-Laos Railway, Hungary-Serbia Railway, and the Kenyan Mombasa-Nairobi Railway.

Once completed, the 100-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment will link Davao del Norte, Davao City and Digos City with its eight stations.

It has a design capacity of up to 122,000 passengers and is expected to reduce travel time between Tagum to Digos from three hours to one hour and 15 minutes.





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