MRT-3 reports drop in unloading incidents in 2019

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2019   •   100

MANILA, Philippines – The number of unloading incidents recorded from January to September this year in the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) has only reached 18 so far, its management reported on Monday.

According to official records of the MRT-3 control center, this is much lower when compared to 480 unloading incidents reported in the same period in 2016, which was the highest number recorded since 2012.

In a Facebook post, the MRT-3 said the significant improvement was observed after they stopped the “force deployment” of “unsafe and reliable trains” as practiced by MRT-3’s previous maintenance provider.

MAGANDANG BALITA!DAMANG-DAMA na ang lamig sa loob ng tren ng MRT-3 dahil naikabit na ang 93 bagong air-conditioning…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Saturday, 14 September 2019

“Amin din pong nais na klaruhin na ang MRT-3 ay hindi kailanman nagdedeploy ng tren na depektibo o sira. Mahalaga sa amin ang kaligtasan ng aming mga pasahero,” the agency said in a statement.

(We also wish to clarify that the MRT-3 has never deployed defective trains. The safety of our passengers is very important to us.)

“Katunayan, ipinatigil po namin ang naging kasanayan ng dating maintenance providers na ‘force deployment’ ng ‘unsafe at unreliable trains’, dahil sila noon ay nababayaran base sa numero ng tren na kanilang nadedeploy, sirain man o hindi,” it added.

(In fact, we have stopped the practice of ‘force deployment’ of ‘unsafe and unreliable trains’ by former maintenance providers as they are paid based on the number of deployed trains, regardless of whether it broke down or not.)

The MRT-3 management also said that compared to previous years, its warehouse now contains enough number of spare parts to repair broken train system components.

“Kung dati rin ay halos walang lamang spare parts ang MRT-3 warehouse, ngayon po ay nag-uumapaw ito sa dami. Ibig sabihin, sapat na ang mga spare parts na gagamitin sa pagkukumpuni ng mga bagon at sistema ng MRT-3,” it said.

(If in the past, the MRT-3 warehouse contained little to no spare parts, now, it is overflowing. It means there are enough spare parts for fixing MRT-3 coaches and system components.)

The agency also reported other improvements brought about by the ongoing comprehensive rehabilitation program, including the full operation of elevators in all MRT-3 stations and the operation of 30 of the total 46 escalators.

93 air-conditioning units have also been installed at MRT-3 coaches with 87 more units to be delivered soon.

Around 4,053 pieces of new rails to replace degraded MRT-3 mainline tracks have also been completely delivered.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier announced that the processing of rail replacements for will start in November until February 2021 at the welding area in the railway’s Taft Avenue Station.

READ: MRT-3 rail replacement works to kick off in November – DOTr

The department earlier said the installation of replacement rails will only take place non-operating hours to avoid disruption in the line’s daily train service.

The DOTr expects the new rails to reduce excess vibration of trains which cause damage to its electrical and mechanical component and later lead to glitches or train breakdown.

By the end of the rehabilitation works, the department said MRT-3 running trains will be increased from 15 to 20 with speed up to 60 kilometers per hour.

The waiting time between trains is also seen to go down from the current 7.5 minutes to 3.5 minutes.

“Makakaasa po kayo na pagsapit ng July 2021, o 26 months mula nang magsimula ang rehabilitasyon noong Mayo, ganap nang mararamdaman ang mga pagbabago sa MRT-3,” the MRT-3 management said.

Surigao airport to resume Manila flights by year’s end after runway restoration – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Surigao airport is set to reopen flights to and from Manila before the year ends following the full restoration of its runway, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Friday.

The airport has been operating limited flights after it was heavily damaged by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck Surigao del Norte in February 2017.

Giovanni Lopez, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation, reported that the runway restoration was completed in October 14, which was ahead of the November 2019 deadline.

The new runway is longer than the previous 1,000 meters after it was constructed with additional 340 meters.

He added this will allow Surigao Airport to accommodate direct flights to and from Manila, and operate flights from and to Cebu without limitations on passenger load.

Following the completion of the 1,400-meter runway, Lopez said contractors will now work on returning the runway to its previous full operational capability at 1,800 meters by first quarter of 2020.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, meanwhile, welcomed the restoration of Manila flights which is also seen to bring economic development for Surigao del Norte.

“We are glad that the contractors made good on their word to deliver in accordance with the deadline set. The people of Surigao deserve this development, most especially after a calamity. Let us always remember that air connectivity is closely tied to regional growth. Ito ‘ho ang kontribusyon ng DOTr, ito ‘ho ang tulong na ibinibigay natin sa ating mga kababayan sa Surigao,” Tugade said in a statement.

Higher fences along MRT-3 railway tracks eyed to block outsiders

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The management of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 is planning to put up higher fences following a series of accidents involving outsiders entering the train tracks.

On Tuesday (October 15), afternoon train operation was delayed for more than two hours after a man jumped onto the tracks in between Ayala and Buendia stations.

Authorities’ investigation revealed that the man was mentally disturbed. He died on the spot after sustaining head injuries from the incident.

MRT-3 management noted it was not the first time that an outsider was able to enter the MRT stations.

There were instances in the past where some thieves were arrested after sneaking into the tracks and stealing electric cables.

According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), there were also reports about street children climbing and crossing the fences of MRT-3.

“Ang mga batang hamog na nang-i-isnatch dyan sa EDSA, dyan din tumatalon sa bakod ng MRT. Aakyatin nila iyan. Kaya nilang talunin (Street children who snatch [items from people] in EDSA, they usually cross over the fences of the MRT). They will cross over to the other side,” noted EDSA Traffic Chief Edison Nebrija.

“Ang hirap habulin niyan dahil bakod yan (It’s difficult to run after them crossing the fence),” he added.

The UNTV News Team traversed EDSA along the stretch of the MRT.

The team observed that some portions of the MRT have high fences, and some even with barbed wires.

However, other parts of the train tracks are low with no barriers at all, particularly between Ayala and Buendia stations where the accident happened.

But according to MRT-3 Director Engr. Michael Capati, the current design and structure of walls and fences in the train tracks followed the standards.

Capati added that even the distance between stations and the structure from nearby bridges were carefully planned by experts to ensure that coaches would not collide in the event of a strong earthquake.

Still, the MRT management is considering putting up taller fences at all MRT-3 tracks.

“Sapat naman siya pero nire-review namin ngayon kung ano pa yung mga kailangan namin gawin para maprevent yung mga ganitong intrusion (They’re on standards but we are still reviewing everything to determine what else can we do to prevent such intrusion),” Capati said.

The MMDA calls on the public to immediately report to authorities should they notice any suspicious-looking persons along MRT tracks, footbridges, and other similar structures to prevent accidents. – MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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First set of Dalian trains to hit MRT-3 tracks Tuesday

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

The third set of MRT-3 trains that were purchased from Chinese firm CCRC Dalian

MANILA, Philippines – The first set of China-made Dalian trains will be deployed at the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) on Tuesday night, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced.

“Starting today, 15 October 2019, one Dalian train set (equivalent to three train coaches) will hit the tracks of MRT-3 mainline during evening off-peak hours, from 8:30PM to 10:30PM,” the DOTr said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The DOTr said this development comes after MRT-3’s Japanese maintenance provider, Sumitomo Corporation-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – TES Philippines signed a consent for the limited deployment on one Dalian train set.

The said consent, according to the DOTr, indicates that the train set will be deployed for an initial trial period until the maintenance provider begins its rail replacement works in November 2019.

“Currently, three Dalian train (9 train coaches) sets have already completed the necessary commissioning and validation tests including the 150-hour run. Each Dalian train set has a three-car configuration that can carry 1,050 passengers per trip,” the DOTr said.

Each train set can carry up to 1,050 passengers.

Around 48 Dalian trains were purchased by the Aquino administration for P3.8 billion but most of it have not been used over doubts of its compatibility with the current MRT tracks.

Its deployment was delayed as the MRT-3 management had to wait for the consent of Sumitomo Corp. which maintains and rehabilitates the line.

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