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DOST, PNR launch hybrid electric train

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Philippine National Railways (PNR) yesterday unveiled a locally designed and developed hybrid electric train that could run on standard railroad tracks.

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said the five-car Electric Hybrid Train (EHT) prototype was set for rigorous reliability and safety testing on the railroad tracks of the PNR in the next weeks and months.

“This proves yet again that our engineers are very capable to develop high-tech systems if only they are empowered to pursue such R&D (research & development) activities,” Montejo said.

“Most important is that this is local. There was a lot of value adding done by our engineers to come up with this electric hybrid train,” he added.

PNR general manager Joseph Allan Dilay said the hybrid electric train was launched at the PNR’s Tutuban station in Manila.

Montejo joined Dilay and Manuel Torres, chairman of the PNR’s board of directors, during the ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Tutuban station.

The ceremony launched the EHT prototype, which is set to undergo regular daily test runs on a 1.2-kilometer stretch of tracks at the PNR Tutuban station depot starting next week.

Dilay said the DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) is taking the lead on the project.

During the launching, Dilay told reporters that they were interested in the EHT, especially in view of the PNR’s lack of trains.

He said for their operations in Manila, which is from Caloocan City to Alabang, they only have seven trains operating in the line, six of which are used during revenue operations, since they always keep one in reserve.

“Right now, our headway is 30 minutes. We can improve that if we can add more trains to maybe 20 minutes,” Dilay said.

Aside from the lack of trains, the PNR also suffers from worn-out railroad tracks, a reason for the slow and bumpy ride experienced by the officials and members of the media who joined the demonstration ride given by the DOST.

The EHT had undergone test runs on a shorter 500-meter stretch at the PNR Caloocan station last May. – Rainier Allan Ronda

 

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