BY JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The China-funded Mindanao Railway Project is set to have partial operations in March next year in Davao.
This, as P82-B ambitious project spearheaded by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), will ink a P3-Billion management consultancy contract with China Railway Design Corporation (CRRDC), designer of the top-caliber train stations in China.
The first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project operations will cover the first 100 kilometers of the proposed 1,500 km train line, it was learned.
“I will be much happier in March 2022, when we see the actual partial operations of Tagum-Davao-Digos Mindanao Railway Project,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said during the virtual signing ceremony.
Tugade said once the first phase will be operational in March, the 3.5 hours travel time from Tagum City, Davao del Norte to Digos City, Davao del Sur will be shortened to 1.3, according to the DOTr Secretary.
For the start of the operation, there will be eight train stations (Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz and Digos) that will simultaneously operate.
The experts, the DOTr say, is expecting daily ridership of the Tagum-Davao segment to have an increase from 134,869 by 2022. And it was also seen to further increase ridership to up to 237,023 vy 2032 and 375,134 in 2042.
Earlier this year, Transportation Assistant Secretary Eymard Eje said the project completion of the train stations in Panabo and Carmen will push through despite some reported delays in procurement.
“Totoo po na nagkaroon ng delay. Ito lamang po ay dahil sa mga dokumentong nire-require po sa atin ng atin pong mga counterparts,” Eje explained, adding that these were already addressed by the department.
This MRP system is known as a single-track, non-electrified railway, and it consists of eight stations to be located in Carmen, Panabo, Tagum, Sta. Cruz, Digos, and another three stations in Davao City. It is predicted to transport an estimated 134,060 daily passengers in 2022 for a starter operation.