Dalian MRT3 trains test run in October

Aika Rey
Dalian MRT3 trains test run in October
The government wants to test whether the trains delivered by Chinese firm CRRC Dalian Company Limited are safe for public use

MANILA, Philippines – The unused Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) trains delivered by Chinese firm CRRC Dalian Company Limited will be tested for public use sometime in October, railway officials confirmed.

During the budget briefing of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday, September 11, Philippine National Railways (PNR) General Manager Jun Magno said that the 48 unused trains will undergo testing to determine whether these are safe for public use. 

Dalian said  it was able to rectify “hazard” issues related to the trains, and this is what PNR will test, together with Toshiba Infrastructure Systems.  (READ: Dalian trains may be used later this year but…)

“Ang gagawin lang namin, subukan natin 150 hours patakbuhin [kung] totoo ba ‘yung hazards na narectify na ‘yan. So kung may hazards pa rin, hindi na namin tatapusin yang 150 [hours], isa-sauli na namin,” Magno told reporters on Tuesday.

(What we will do is we will test-run the trains for 15 hours to know if it’s true that the hazards were already rectified. If there are still hazards, we will not finish the 150 hours and send them back to Dalian.)

Magno noted that the government wants to keep a very low hazard probability, close to the rates when the MRT3 was turned over by the original manufacturer Japanese firm Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

He said that a hazard probability of 0.1% could still cause accidents and affect close to 100 passengers a year – a turnout that the government wants to avoid.

“Kaya nga may simulation muna kami para ‘yang obvious na hazard matanggal na namin [ang tren sa test run]. Tapos ‘yang mga hidden hazards na ‘di pa namin nakikita, ‘yun ang te-testing namin. Kunwari sa 150 [hours], may hidden hazard na malaki talaga, tatanggalin namin. Papa-rectify sa Dalian,” Magno said.

(The reason why we have an initial simulation is so we can identify the trains with obvious hazards and remove them [from the test run]. The hidden hazards, we will be able to identify them during the test run. If there are huge hidden hazards during the 150-hour test run, we will remove them. Those have to be rectified by Dalian.)

The trains, when fielded for a test run, will be done during revenue operations. Magno estimated inserting two to 3 trains at a time, on top of the regular 15 trains servicing an average of 350,000 commuters daily.

Dalian will assume all costs related to repair of the unused trains, as well as providing spare parts, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

Agreement

Railways Undersecretary Timothy John Batan said that the timeline of the test run is still being finalized.

Sumitomo, the original builder of MRT3, is set to come in as the new maintenance provider of the train system. Batan said the government is targetting the signing of agreements by the end of September to coincide with the test run of of Dalian trains.

“Practically speaking, transition [to Sumitomo] is already ongoing because there are talks already. But the full mobilization will take time between now and October,” Batan said.

The 48 Dalian trains were delivered in 2016 but remained unused due to supposed compatibility issues. The DOTr said the Dalian trains exceeded the total weight required in its contract, specifying that each train should weigh 46.4 tons, but the delivered trains weighed 49.7 tons.

The new coaches were part of the MRT3 expansion project, which aimed to decongest the railway system and increase its capacity to serve over 800,000 passengers daily. – Rappler.com

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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 aika.rey@rappler.com.