MANILA, Philippines – Germany-based TÜV Rheinland, the winning independent audit and assessment consultant for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3), will evaluate and recommend what to do with 48 train cars that have already been delivered by China-based CRRC Dalian Company Limited.
This is a safety measure being undertaken by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) before it uses the additional MRT3 cars for daily operations.
On Thursday, January 11, Transportation Acting Undersecretary for Railways TJ Batan said that on the 1st working day of 2018, January 3, the department's MRT3 team met with TÜV Rheinland, a German firm established in 1872, for assistance in assessing if the delivered MRT3 cars are safe to use.
"The new light rail vehicles were already delivered, but we are unable to accept them unless our independent audit and assessment consultant has certified their safety and compatibility with our system," Batan said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Concerns were raised that the 48 MRT3 cars exceed the weight prescribed in the terms of reference. Compatibility with the MRT3's maintenance facilities and signaling system is also an issue. (READ: Railways Usec Chavez resigns over MRT3 mess)
With the current fleet of Czech-made trains, Batan said the MRT3 can operate up to 20 trains, with 3 cars each.
"The original design capacity of the MRT3 at peak hours is 20 trains, with 3 cars each. These run at 60 kilometers per hour with a 3-minute headway. This means every 3 minutes, there should be 3 MRT cars arriving," he said in Filipino.
If the 48 light rail vehicles are cleared to run, Batan said the number can be increased to 20 trains, with 4 cars each, arriving every two minutes. (READ: Pangilinan-Ayala group eyes MRT3 takeover by early 2018)
Spare parts in February
Batan added that spare parts for the maintenance of the MRT3 will start arriving in tranches from February to June this year.
It was in November 2017 when the MRT3 started procuring the spare parts.
Batan said his team will use the Holy Week break, during which there will be no operations, to conduct general maintenance for the railway system.
Batan also reassured train commuters that there would be no fare increase while there is no substantial improvement in the MRT3 operations.
"Our commitment with the railway sector is we will not increase fares until commuters feel improvement in their riding experience," he said. – Rappler.com