The Department of Transportation (DOTr) deployed on Saturday three light rail vehicles (LRV) to join the fleet of train cars running on the MRT-3 line. The trains were purchased from Chinese firm CCRC Dalian.
The initial trip of a train set with three cars took off from North Avenue and completed the route until Taft Avenue station. On board the inaugurating trip was Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, as well as other officials of the DOTr.
48 Dalian LRVs were delivered to the Philippines in 2016, but their deployment was delayed by compatibility issues. Supplier CCRC Dalian has since agreed to shoulder the costs for the adjustments needed for the trains to be deployed on the MRT-3 line.
“Matapos ang patung-patong na audit, assessment, testing, at validation ng iba’t-ibang mga banyaga at lokal na mga eksperto, nagsimula na po ang gradual deployment ng Dalian trains para sa passenger service ng MRT-3 (After a series of audit, assessment, testing and validation by local and foreign experts, we have started the gradual deployment of Dalian trains for the passenger service of MRT-3),” read a statement released by the DOTr on the agency’s official Facebook page.
The other 45 LRVs are currently undergoing a battery of tests and validations. Their eventual deployment will follow after they have been approved for integration into the existing train line.
According to the DOTr, the screening process of the trains involves of a 1,000 kilometer test run; and functionality tests to examine its features like its doors, lighting, braking system, among others; examination by German company TUV Rheinland and Japanese firm Toshiba Infrastructure Systems; and a validation by the Philippine National Railways.
Of the delivered Dalian trains, 14 have already completed the 1,000 kilometer test run.
Secretary Tugade has emphasized the need to be cautious in the deployment of trains. Rushing the process could potentially compromise the safety of passengers.
The 3 Dalian trains will be initially deployed to service 150 off-peak hours and weekends, as part of further testing into their reliability and performance on the MRT-3 line.
“After they have already completed 150 hours during off-peak hours and weekends, the train cars can now be deployed during peak hours,” said DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan at a press conference on Saturday.
The new train coaches are expected to help ease the passenger volume issues of the MRT-3 line, as well as reduce the number of breakdowns that happen on the transit system. Since the start of 2018, 56 train car glitches and malfunctions have been recorded.