New MRT train expected to start running by end-March

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New MRT train expected to start running by end-March
Tests have started on the 2nd coach imported from China – part of the DOTC's project to increase the MRT's capacity to serve over 800,000 passengers daily

MANILA, Philippines – Users of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT3) may soon see an improvement in their riding experience by March, with one new train expected to be up and running to ease the daily load of the train line.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has started tests on the second MRT3 coach imported from China, which arrived in the Philippines in December.

The new coach, which arrived at the Taft Avenue station in Pasay City on Sunday, January 17, was made to run all the way to the North Avenue depot in Quezon City.

The coach will undergo a 5,000-km test run. Tests on different components, such as its German-made traction motors from Voith and brake systems from Knorr-Bremse, will be conducted until February.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said passengers may expect the new coach to be up on the MRT3 line by the end of the first quarter of 2016, once the coach has been tested and certified for safety.

Abaya also said that another coach is expected to arrive in February. Starting March, 4 coaches are set to arrive in the Philippines until all 48 new train cars are completed by January 2017.

The 48 new coaches are part of the MRT3 expansion project, which aims to decongest the MRT system and increase its capacity to serve over 800,000 passengers daily.

The current train line carries around 600,000 passengers every day, nearly twice its daily load limit of 350,000.

It has been the subject of several Senate hearings after one of its trains derailed in August 2014. Since then, the MRT3 has suffered breakdowns and technical glitches due to its broken rails and signalling systems.

Chinese firm Dalian Locomotive won the P3.76 billion contract for the acquisition of 48 light rail vehicles for the MRT3. –

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