All Dalian trains for MRT-3 line to be fully operational by July 2021 – MRT

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MRT management says the first run of the Dalian trains was a success. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 16) — Transport authorities said they plan to have all trains acquired from Chinese company CRRC Dalian for the MRT-3 line available to the public in two years.

The delay is due to the scheduled rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit line 3’s (MRT-3) railway, MRT management said.

“It will be on full operations, if ever, right after the full rehabilitation being done by Sumitomo, which is on July 2021. That’s where we can see all trains...all running on the main line,” said Michael Capati, MRT-3 Director for Operations. “Matagal pa kasi kailangan muna i-fix ‘yung system ng MRT-3.”

[Translation: It will take a while because we have to fix the MRT-3 system.]

The government obtained 48 Dalian trains in 2015 but these failed to operate due to compatibility issues with the MRT railway.

On Tuesday, the MRT-3 launched its first ever Dalian train set with three coaches for public use from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Capati said the run was successful.

“The feedback and the results were all good. They all passed the requirements,” he said.

He said they will continue running the Dalian train with the same evening schedule daily until October 31. The three train coaches are seen to accommodate 1,050 more passengers per trip. Capati said they will still study if they could add more trains soon or extend their run.

“After October 31, we will be starting the rehabilitation of the rail, the tracks, that’s why we try to evaluate how do we fit in the Dalian train,” Capati explained.

In May, the Department of Transportation turned over the MRT-3's track replacement and maintenance to Japanese partners Sumitomo Corporation, Mitsubishi Industries and MHI's Philippine subsidiary TES Philippines. Earlier, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said he was in talks with the Japanese partners on integrating the Dalian trains that the previous administration acquired to the MRT.

Transport officials expect the deal to yield significant improvements to the MRT such as increased speed from 30 kilometers per hour (kph) to 60 kph, a trimmed headway time from seven minutes to 3.5 minutes and a doubled carrying capacity from 300,000 to 600,000 or 650,000 passengers daily.