New MRT trains in final testing phase, but obstacles remain

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2017 07:31 PM

MANILA - The new Metro Rail Transit (MRT) trains are undergoing the final phase of testing, but MRT management has yet to receive a safety certification from Bombardier, the signalling system supplier, which it needs before operating one train set on the line. 

MRT Director for Operations Deo Manalo explained that the series of tests should be completed by March or April this year.

"Na-witness niyo naman na we conducted the test, nag-activate and it's compatible with our signaling. Kailangan lang i-perfect sa tren yung internals ng tren, kailangan pa pag-usapan yun," said Manalo.

But to run all newly purchased 16 train sets, Manalo said the railway's power system should be upgraded, which will be completed by the end of the year.

Manalo added it is a challenge to run the project since most of the contractual engineers under the new MRT project are no longer with the MRT after their contracts expired. Many applied in other rail projects.

This loss of engineers resulted in a slow turnover of documents of the Dalian trains.

"In terms of documentation, kailangan lang may turnover so may ilang nag stay for pro bono to help us collate."

He clarified that the documents were already cleared and submitted to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Rail Cesar Chavez last week.

"It's already complete, last Tuesday pa. Piecemeal ang paghingi ng documents. It took time pero nakumpleto naman," he said.

He also clarified that there is also documentation which says MRT management has accepted a prototype.

"During the first billing, we issued a statement or certification that it has already been approved. When we were submitting the billing, iba yung template for inspection... It says here - the delivery is inspected and found to be in order," he said.

He also said MRT management has only paid 14% of the P3.8-billion total cost of the new trains.

The new trains were purchased from Dalian China under the Aquino administration.