MRT-3 personnel test-drive a Dalian train in a video posted on Facebook by the Department of Transportation.
MRT-3 deploys first Dalian train set
Richmond Mercurio, Ralph Edwin Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The first Dalian train hit the tracks of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 last night after the MRT-3’s Japanese maintenance provider agreed to the limited deployment of one train set.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the group of Sumitomo Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), and TES Philippines signed on Monday its consent for the limited deployment of one Dalian train set.

The deployment of one Dalian train set, equivalent to three train coaches, was supposed to start during the evening off-peak hours or from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The train set ran without passengers as of 8 p.m., the DOTr reported.

The consent indicates that the train set will be deployed for an initial trial period lasting up to when the maintenance provider begins its rail replacement works in November.

The DOTr said discussions are ongoing between officials from the agency, Sumitomo and MHI regarding the technical considerations, especially when rail replacement works ramp up in the next few months.

“We are balancing the requirements for fixing the degraded existing system and on the other hand, expanding capacity with the addition of Dalian trains,” DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran said.

“The reason for that is because capacity is not just additional trains. Capacity is also faster speed and shorter headways, which require us to rehabilitate the tracks and fix and upgrade the signaling system,” she said.

Libiran said there is no hesitation on Sumitomo’s part to use the Dalian trains, but it wants to study first how to operate the trains.

So far, only three of the 48 Dalian train sets have completed the necessary commissioning and validation tests, including the 150-hour run.

Each Dalian train set has a three-car configuration that can carry 1,050 passengers per trip.

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

The DOTr, however, said the Dalian trains may still be used if the certain adjustments are addressed, following an independent audit conducted by German firm TUV Rheinland.

CRRC Dalian Co. Ltd. of China, the manufacturer of the trains, has agreed to shoulder the cost of technical adjustments to be made on the 48 trains as the government aims to integrate the trains into the MRT-3 operations.

Sumitomo-MHI was tapped by the government last year to return as the MRT-3’s maintenance service provider.

Under the ongoing MRT-3 rehabilitation project, Sumitomo-MHI will overhaul all 72 light rail vehicles, replace all mainline tracks, rehabilitate power and overhead catenary systems, upgrade the signaling system, communications and closed-circuit television systems and repair all escalators and elevators.

In line with the rehabilitation, the DOTr has vowed to fix and restore the MRT-3 to its original state by the third quarter of 2021.

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