MRT-3 trains reach 50kph for the first time since 2014

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
MRT-3 trains reach 50kph for the first time since 2014
This file photo by the STAR shows the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — For the first time since September 2014, the Metro Rail Transit-Line 3 was able to hike its operating speed to 50kph, the transportation department said Tuesday. 

In a statement, the Department of Transportation said that the improvement in effect reduces the time between trains to only 4-5 minutes between trains at 20 trains from the previous 8 to 9.5 minutes with 20 trains running at 30kph.

"This means that travel time from North Avenue station to Taft Avenue station will likewise be lessened from 1 hour and 15 minutes to just 1 hour and 5 minutes," the statement read. 

This is still not the peak performance of the MRT-3 train sets, however. Specifications sent by the Department of Transportation to Philstar.com show that due to the worn-out set of tracks, the trains ran at their listed minimum of 30-40 kilometers per hour before the latest development.

The trains have a maximum possible speed of 65 kph. 

The CKD train sets that still plow through the MRT-3 line today have been in use since 1996, though the department was careful to highlight that the improvement in train speed is a result of the installation of the new long-welded rails in all the MRT-3 stations as part of the rehabilitation program of the rail line implemented by the Japan-based Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

“With the increased operating speed, MRT-3 passengers can now expect faster travel time, shorter waiting time for train arrivals,  and better and comfortable riding experience,” MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati said. 

MRT-3 management has been gradually increasing the operating speed and expects that this will further improve to 60kph by December.

Rehabilitation, maintenance, and rail replacement works are slated to reach completion by July 2021.

Earlier in October, the MRT-3, along with its counterparts the Philippine National Railways and both Light Rail Transit lines, announced that they would also be gradually increasing the maximum passenger capacity of their trains to accommodate more commuters amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to DOTr data requested by Philstar.com earlier in June, passenger averages over the initial general community quarantine period were 43,341 during weekdays and 33,570 during weekends.

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