THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) has directed the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to supervise the testing of train sets manufactured by China’s CRRC Dalian Co. for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).
PNR General Manager Junn B. Magno said he was instructed by Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade to validate the report of third -party auditor TUV Rheinland on the train sets before Sumitomo Corp. takes over as the railway’s maintenance provider.
“The report enumerated the reliability factors and the hazard factors of the train sets so we need to test that before we put it into revenue service,” he said during the Senate budget hearing of the DoTr on Tuesday.
He said the PNR was tapped since it has a division in the agency which deals with the reliability and maintainability of its trains.
Mr. Magno said the PNR will conduct simulations next week to check for possible major hazards with the train sets that the Chinese firm may have missed in its repairs.
After the simulation, the train sets will be placed in provisional revenue service by the MRT-3 for at least 150 hours. Mr. Magno said the testing may be conducted this month or October.
Mr. Magno said the PNR will then provide a recommendation to Mr. Tugade whether the train sets are suitable for revenue service or whether there is still a need for CRRC Dalian Co. to rectify some issues.
“If there are still hazards, we will not finish the 150 hours and will return the trains to (CCRC) Dalian so they will rectify it,” the PNR General Manager said.
DoTr Undersecretary for Rails Timothy John R. Batan said Toshiba Infrastructure Systems will also assist the government to validate whether CCRC Dalian has repaired the issues raised with the train sets identified by TUV Rheinland.
“We will run the trains first outside revenue hours so it would not affect operations when there are passengers and later on we will do it during revenue hours… Then, we will gradually deploy the trains in the existing fleet for longer period of time,” he told reporters after the legislative hearing.
He said the process of the simulation and testing will be discussed in a meeting with the various parties on Thursday.
The DoTr hopes to deploy the Dalian trains by the end of the year after it obtained the Chinese firm’s assurance it will shoulder the costs of any modifications.
Mr. Tugade stressed the importance of the deployment of the Dalian trains during the MRT-3 rehabilitation.
“We really need to use the Dalian trains. They said it can be used. If rehabilitation starts with MRT, only 10 trains may be operational. That would be a problem to the commuters. How can we meet the ideal target of the 600,000 passenger ridership with only 10 or 12 trains?” he said during the budget hearing.
The DoTr and the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) finalized in May the terms of the rehabilitation for the MRT-3, which will take 43 months. — Camille A. Aguinaldo