Trains in the Philippines

SMC sets MRT7 full operations in December 2022

Aika Rey
SMC sets MRT7 full operations in December 2022

FOR 2022. MRT7 trains are in South Korea.

Photo from San Miguel Corporation

Originally eyed for partial operations by end-2021, San Miguel Corporation says the first test run is scheduled for June 2022 yet

San Miguel Corporation on Friday, February 19, said that the full operations of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT7) can be expected in December 2022, as construction is now about 54% completed.

SMC president and COO Ramon Ang said that a significant chunk of civil and electrical works have progressed, particularly foundational works on stations and rail track installations.

For the elevated section, 6.2 kilometers (km) of 13.5 km was already completed. For at-grade sections, more than half or 4.8 km of 6.9 km was already done.

The tunnel portion, meanwhile, is nearing completion with only 400 meters left.

“Given our progress today, and all the major milestones we’re expecting this year and the next, I think we’re confident we can achieve full, complete operations by December next year, with our first test run scheduled for June next year,” said Ang.

The Department of Transportation, however, has been pushing for partial operations by the end of 2021. Overall accomplishment for the MRT7 inched in the past months from 51.84% in June 2020. (READ: Belmonte allows MRT7 aboveground construction to continue in Quezon City)

Ang said on Friday that MRT7 works were “more complex.”

“Apart from complex construction work, MRT7 construction involves a lot of mechanical and electrical work. There are so many systems to be integrated to ensure we can efficiently and safely run a large number of passenger trains to serve the public,” Ang said.

“There are still many right-of-way issues pending for the MRT7 project. But we will continue working, we just keep on building and doing what we can in areas where we can work, so that we can finish this faster,” Ang said. (READ: Right-of-way issues may delay MRT7 completion)

Train testing

SMC purchased a total of 36 trains or 108 train cars from South Korea Hyundai Rotem, with Korea Railroad Corporation as its adviser.

An initial 6 trains are set for factory acceptance testing in April in South Korea. If the trains pass the test, the first batch of trains will be cleared for transport to the Philippines.

The depot, once completed, can hold up to 150 trains for future capacity expansion, according to SMC.

After a 7-year delay, construction of the unsolicited project began in April 2016.

The 23-kilometer railway system, which will run from North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan, will have 14 train stations that will take 30 minutes to travel end-to-end.

It will be connected to the existing MRT 3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1 via a common station in North Avenue. –

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at