Rails for MRT-3 rehabilitation arrive months ahead of schedule

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THE government said it took delivery of new train parts for the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) this week.

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) said in a statement Wednesday it received 4,053 new rails of 18-meter length from Japan Tuesday night, which will be used to replace older rails on the elevated commuter line, which runs along the capital’s main artery EDSA.

DoTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John R. Batan said the new rails are expected to reduce disruptions to MRT-3’s daily operations.

[Y]ung kasalukuyang degraded state ng ating mga riles ang nagiging dahilan kaya nagiging matagtag ang takbo ng MRT-3. (The degraded state of the rails are the reason behind the rough ride on MRT-3) At ’yang tagtag na ’yan ay isa sa pinakamalaking root causes kung bakit tayo nagkakaroon ng aberya (The rough ride is one of the biggest reasons behind many issues disrupting the MRT-3),” he said in the statement.

The rails arrived “two to three months ahead of schedule,” putting the rail rehabilitation on track for completion by July 2021, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said.

“We are happy that the rails we procured arrived much earlier than scheduled… Ebidensya po ito na ang MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project… ay hindi drawing (This is evidence that the MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project…is not just a paper plan),” he was quoted as saying in the statement.

More parts are scheduled to arrive in October, and if the schedule is followed, the replacement of the tracks may begin by November during non-operating hours of the MRT-3. The replacement works are set for completion by February 2021.

The government turned over in May the rehabilitation and maintenance of the MRT-3 to Japanese partners Sumitomo Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Sumitomo-MHI), together with TES Philippines, Inc. (TESP).

The P16.985-billion rehabilitation is funded by an agreement signed last year between the governments of the Philippines and Japan.

Once works are completed, operational trains at the MRT-3 are expected to increase to 20 from the current 15, with speeds increasing to 60 kilometers per hour (kph) from the current 30 kph. — Denise A. Valdez