MANILA, Philippines – The Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3) has added the first Dalian train set to its regular fleet, to be deployed on an initial trial run during off-peak hours beginning Tuesday night, October 15.
The train set, with 3 coaches and a total capacity of 1,050 passengers, will run from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm until November, when maintenance provider Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd-TES Philippines begins its rail replacement works, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said in a statement on Tuesday.
DOTr said the deployment of the train comes after the maintenance provider signed a consent for the trial run of the Dalian train on Monday, October 14.
The DOTr said it greenlighted the inclusion of the train in the MRT3 fleet after completing its validation and commissioning test runs, including a 150-hour run in October 2018.
The government agency said the train will just be on a limited run, since the maintenance provider was still studying the operation of the Dalian trains.
"We are balancing the requirements for fixing the degraded existing system and on the other hand, expanding capacity with the addition of Dalian trains," said DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran.
Rail replacement works will begin on November 1, but Libiran said the trial run can be extended until December 31.
Two other Dalian trains had completed the necessary commissioning and validation tests, but were awaiting deployment. The last Dalian train was tested for 10 days in January 2019.
Transporation Secretary Arthur Tugade had promised the gradual deployment of 3 Dalian train sets by the end of the year, after the Commission on Audit found a 26% decrease in the MRT3's ridership and revenues in 2018.
In 2018, an average of only 13 out of 24 train sets plied the MRT3 rails. The Dalian train sets were meant to increase the railway's capacity to serve its daily ridership of 300,000.
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.