DOTr rehires Sumitomo for MRT-3 rehabilitation
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. signed yesterday the contract for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the MRT-3, making official the return of the train system’s original maintenance providers.

Sumitomo is being joined by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to restore the mass rail transit system to its original performance standards.

The DOTr said the rehabilitation and maintenance contract would cover the entire 16.9-kilometer line, all its 13 stations, all remaining 72 light rail vehicles (LRVs), and the MRT-3 Depot in North Avenue, Quezon City.

“All sub-systems will be restored, renewed or upgraded, including MRT-3’s trackworks, signaling system, power supply system, overhead catenary system, communications system, and maintenance and station equipment,” the agency said.

Engineers from Sumitomo-MHI have been in the MRT-3 Depot daily for advance transition works since Oct. 15.

The Philippines inked last Nov. 8 an P18-billion loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the rehabilitation of the MRT-3.

MRT-3, which covers North Ave. station in Quezon City until Taft station in Pasay City, started operating in 2000 and the first round of general overhaul was completed by Sumitomo in 2008.

The second round of overhaul was supposed to have been completed in 2016, but with the termination of Busan Universal Rail Inc. in November 2017, only three of the 43 trains that was covered by its contract were overhauled.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier said Sumitomo would also help in determining the timing for the deployment of the China-made Dalian trains in the MRT-3 system.

Early this month, the DOTr subjected the second train set of Dalian coaches to reliability, availability, maintainability and safety validation test.

The train set will run during off-peak hours prior to its deployment in MRT-3’s mainline.

The Dalian coaches are required to finish the 1,000-kilometer test run for 150 hours before it is completely rolled out during peak hours of the MRT-3 operations.

Incompatibility concerns were earlier raised with the 48 LRVs procured by the previous administration for P3.8 billion after they exceeded the weight prescribed in the terms of reference (49,700 kilograms vs. 46,300 kilograms).

Following an independent audit conducted by German firm TUV Rheinland, the DOTr said the Dalian trains could still be used if the adjustments identified in the audit are addressed “without sacrificing the safety, the security, and life of the passengers and the system.”

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