WORK is expected to get underway shortly on the first phase of NorthRail, following the signing of a funding deal on February 26. The US$400m loan agreement was signed by the Philippine government's Finance Secretary Juanita Amatong and the President of the Import Bank of China, Yang Zilin.

Approved by the Investment Co-ordination Committee last December at a total cost of US$503m, NorthRail Phase 1 runs from Caloocan in the northern suburbs of Manila to Malolos in Bulacan province. The double-track line will have intermediate stations at Valemzuela, Marilao, Bocaue and Guginto. Services will be operated by a fleet of 30 four-car DMUs, running at 100 km/h.