ON AUGUST 1 Philippine National Railways Assistant General Manager Rafael Jiminez called for the planned Manila - Calabarzon Express (MCX) commuter rail network and the Northrail link to Clark Air Base to be integrated to offer through services between north and south Luzon via central Manila.
Developer Ayala Land Inc said in July that it was close to finalising a build-transfer-operate concession for the US$600m MCX project, under which it would transfer the infrastructure, buy the rolling stock and run the services (RG 5.97 p271). Phase 1 involves upgrading the PNR line from Kalookan to Calamba and building branches to Carmona and Canlubang. Services would be hauled by diesel locos.
Jiminez is concerned that Bases Conversion Development Authority wants to build Northrail to standard gauge, whereas MCX will stick with 1067mm gauge for compatibility with the rest of PNR. Conversion of the PNR route out of Manila for Northrail would isolate disused lines in Northern Luzon for which the government is inviting reconstruction concessions. o