Finally, MRT Begins Test Run of Controversial Dalian Trains

Test runs begin tonight.

In 2016, some 48 Dalian trains from China were delivered to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as part of a crucial expansion and improvement project for the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3). But the MRT3 was prevented from using the trains because the coaches and weight of the trains were reportedly unfit for the tracks used in the line.

According to the DOTr, the first Dalian train will be deployed tonight during off-peak hours at 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM, when original maintenance provider, the Japanese firm Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, begins its rail replacements works. It can be remembered that the Japanese firm, which is also the manufacturer of the original MRT3 trains, was replaced in 2012 when government did not renew its contract as the maintenance provider of the transit line. Sumitomo-Mitsbishi Heavy Industries is also the manufacturer of crucial spare parts needed for the trains.

The contract for the P3.7-billion acquisition for the light rail vehicles was awarded to Dalian Locomotive, a Chinese firm which promised to decongest the overloaded MRT trains by providing larger, more efficient coaches. At the time, the lone transit system plying the EDSA route was experiencing multiple glitches and breakdowns every day. On average, the MRT3 transports 600,000 passengers a day—way past its 350,000 capacity. Dalian Locomotive has since agreed to pay for the revamp of MRT3 because of their trains’ incompatibility with the line.

Because of the numerous daily breakdowns and passenger offloading in the years that followed Sumitomo-Mitsubishi’s exit as the maintenance provider, the government once again turned over to the Japanese firm the maintenance and repair works on the MRT3 in May 2019.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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