PHILIPPINES: Construction of Manila metro Line MRT7 started on April 20 with a groundbreaking ceremony at Quezon Memorial Circle.

The 22·8 km line is being developed by San Miguel Holdings subsidiary Universal LRT Corp under a PPP concession that also includes 35 years of operations. EEI Corp is undertaking construction, and Hyundai Rotem is to supply signalling, communications and power supplies under a contract awarded earlier this year that also includes 36 three-car trainsets.

Being built at a cost of 69·3bn pesos, the line will run northeast from an interchange with LRT1 at North Avenue in the city centre to a new bus-rail transport hub at San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, serving 14 stations. The section from North Avenue to Quezon Memorial will be underground, with the rest on an elevated alignment.

Revenue service is due to begin in April 2020. Initial ridership is forecast at 350 000 passengers a day, rising to 800 000 eventually. The end-to-end journey time is expected to be around 60 min, compared with up to 3½ h by road along the congested Commonwealth Avenue corridor.