3 Dalian trains ready for use this September: MRT-3
By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) on Thursday said it is ready to deploy three Dalian trains on the rail line within a few days once an agreement between the Department Transportation (DOTr) and maintenance and rehabilitation provider Sumitomo-MHI-TESP is reached.
MRT-3 director Michael Capati said they have been working on inserting the Dalian trains as soon as possible, which could possibly happen within the month, depending on the talks between the top-level managements of the DOTr and Sumitomo.
“We are doing our best to make sure na ma-insert namin ang (we insert the) Dalian as soon as possible–hopefully this month,” Capati told reporters at the MRT-3 Depot in Quezon City.
The MRT-3 chief said the talks would conclude once Sumitomo agrees with the conditions set by the DOTr.
Currently, an average of 13 to 15 train sets are running along the MRT-3 line, which will increase by three following the insertion of the three Dalian trains, which already underwent testing and compatibility works.
Capati said once the comprehensive rehabilitation of the rail line is completed, all 20 first-generation trains of the MRT-3 could also be deployed, increasing the average number of running trains to 18 to 20, not including Dalian trains which total to 10.
“Kapag na-rehab na natin ang mga tren, kaya natin mag-deploy ng bente. Yung una natin. Tapos, kung hypothetically, maayos natin yung buong Dalian, kaya natin ng 30. (Once we complete the rehabilitation of our trains, we could deploy 20. That’s the first generation of trains. And hypothetically, if we manage to fix all Dalian trains, we could have 30.) So that’s our capacity,” Capati said.
Aside from increasing the number of running trains, Capati said the comprehensive rehabilitation will also increase the average speed of its trains to about 60 kph from the current 30 kph once rail replacement works are complete.
“For the rail replacement, ahead of time po tayo. Ang nakakatuwa po makakapag-start na po tayo by November (we are ahead of time. And what’s heartening is we would be able to start the replacement works by November),” Capati said.
In a television interview last week, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said Sumitomo has agreed to integrate the Dalian trains into the MRT-3 system starting from one train coach, with plans for more in the future.
“Ang Sumitomo ay pumapayag na ‘ho na i-integrate ‘yung Dalian sa MRT-3 system. Mag-uumpisa ‘yan, one train coach. Hopefully madadagdagan ‘yan (Sumitomo has agreed to integrate the Dalian trains into the MRT-3 system. It will start with a one train coach. Hopefully it will be increased),” Tugade said.
He added that the Dalian trains cannot be integrated haphazardly for the safety of the passengers of the MRT-3.
“Kailangan ‘ho maging compatible ang lahat at maging safe ang lahat ng sa ganun, yung seguridad at safety and convenience ng mga pasahero ay mapapa-igting (What is needed is for all Dalian trains to be made compatible and safe, so that security, safety and convenience of passengers are made the highest of concerns),” Tugade said.
Under the PHP18-billion comprehensive rehabilitation project, Sumitomo is set to replace all rail tracks along the MRT-3’s 17-kilometer line, power and overhead catenary systems rehabilitated, communications systems upgraded, all elevators and escalators repaired, and all 72 light rail cars overhauled.
The MRT-3 said rehabilitation works started on May 1 and will be completed after 26 months, or by July 2021.
Aside from increased operating speed of its trains, the MRT-3 said the number of serviceable passengers will also be increased from the current 300,000 to 600,000 per day and the average waiting time lowered from 7.5 minutes to about 3.5 minutes. (PNA)