LAST MONTH saw the signing of a ´20bn contract for Japanese companies to supply rolling stock and other M&E systems for Manila metro Line 2. Toshiba and Marubeni are to supply a fleet of 72 wide-bodied EMU cars for the 14 km line, which is being built to a heavier specification than Lines 1 and 3.

Costed at P25·7bn Line 2 will initially run from Santolan to Recto Avenue with 11 stations. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in November 1997, when it was hoped that the line would be completed by 2001. Although civil works have been progressing, award of the M&E contracts was delayed by the Asian economic crisis. Delivery of the four-car units is now expected by 2004.

Financed largely by yen loans from the Japan Bank for International Co-operation, the line is being designed to carry up to 600000 passengers/day. The Transport Ministry is currently drawing up plans for interchanges linking Lines 1, 2, 3 and the proposed Line 4.