DOTC to expedite testing of MRT3 prototype train car
DOTC to expedite testing of MRT3 prototype train car
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya says the MRT3 team will meet with suppliers to explore ways to provide more trains to the public ahead of schedule

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and  the Metro Rail Transit line 3 project team will head to Dalian in China next week to meet with the German suppliers of traction systems, gearboxes, and brake systems, in a bid to expedite the testing of the MRT3 prototype train car.

“As we announced last June, static testing will be conducted from September to October. Meanwhile, dynamic testing was scheduled from November to December, when these parts will be delivered from Germany,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement Wednesday, September 9.

Abaya added that DOTC met with the officials from the German embassy, Voith, and Knorr-Bremse a few weeks back regarding delivery schedules.

Voith will manufacture the traction systems and gearboxes for the 48 brand new coaches of the MRT3 line. Knorr-Bremse, meanwhile, is in charge of the brake systems.

The DOTC described the two firms as “established suppliers in the global rail industry.”

“Next week, our team will discuss the details with these suppliers, so we can explore ways to provide more trains to the public earlier than scheduled,” Abaya  said.

On September 8, Senator Grace Poe found out that the initial MRT3 prototype train car does not have an engine yet. In her inspection of the MRT3 prototype train car, she also found out that China-based Dalian Locomotive will still have to order the engine from a German manufacturer. (READ: MRT3 prototype train car not ready for testing until December)

As such, the prototype would not be ready for testing until December.

Transportation Spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal confirmed this via text message: “Acceptance of the prototype should be by the end of December, which means we can place our orders in accordance with the contract by the beginning of January.”

Maintenance contract
Apart from expediting the MRT3 prototype train car testing, the DOTC is also targeting to award the P4.25-billion ($96.13 million) contract for a 3-year total maintenance provider (TMP) within the fourth quarter this year.

On September 2, DOTC announced that it finally secured the approval of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) to enter into a negotiated contract to fast-track the procurement of a 3-year maintenance provider of MRT3.

While waiting for GPPB approval, the DOTC resorted to the current 6-month multi-discipline approach, wherein different maintenance contractors were engaged for each of the 7 components of MRT3.

This long-term maintenance provider will undertake the regular maintenance requirements of the system over the next 3 years, and conduct the general overhaul of existing MRT3 coaches, and the replacement of the signaling system.

The general overhaul is needed in order to improve the condition of the 16-year old coaches, and the signaling system replacement will ensure safer operations throughout the line.

The DOTC also highlighted other improvement works on the privately-owned MRT3 system.

It has already procured over 7,000 linear meters’ worth of new rails, which will be used to replace worn-out tracks starting in the fourth quarter this year.

Meanwhile, the rehabilitation of escalators and elevators, as well as the refurbishment of toilet facilities, are presently ongoing.

$1 = P46.81

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