FILE PHOTO: Weight testing of the new trains purchased by DOTR from China’s Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stocks Company
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – After the long wait, the new Dalian trains finally hit the train tracks on Saturday (October 27).
Though only one set of trains was made operational, its operation somehow gave an assurance that the rest of the fleet would soon ease the burden of commuters especially in Metro Manila.
The three-coach train, which passed technical assessment to include compatibility, reliability and weight test among others, ran well on Saturday according to Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan.
“Ok naman noong sinakyan natin kanina. Iyon talaga ang objective natin at makita natin ang kanyang performance,” he said.
According to the plan, one train set will be added to the daily operation of the current 18 sets of trains of MRT Line 3.
However, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) clarified that the Dalian trains will only run during off-peak hours on weekdays and weekends.
The rest of the 45 coaches are still undergoing technical assessment and tests.
Meanwhile, the company Sumitomo will begin next week its handling of the MRT-3’s maintenance and rehabilitation works.
Sumitomo is the original maintenance provider during the initial operation of MRT Line 3.
“Pabalik na po ang ating rehabilitation and maintenance provider (ang) Sumitomo and Mitsubishi. Iyan po ay mag-uumpisa na next month. Actually in the last two weeks araw araw na po sila nandito sa depot. Ang mga tao at engineer ng Sumitomo at Mitsubishi heavy dahil full team ahead na po ang ating transition,” Batan explained.
Once Sumitomo finally takes over, it will conduct an overhauling of the trains to repair the damages.
Meanwhile, coinciding with the holiday season, the DOTr is considering an extension of the trains service’s operating hours to accommodate the surge of passengers especially mall goers and merry makers. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)