MANILA - Trains built by Chinese company Dalian for the MRT are within the "allowable" weight based on specifications from the Department of Transportation, a railway consultant told a Senate panel Tuesday.
The weight of the Dalian trains is still within the allowed limits of the train tracks even when filled with passengers, said Rolf Bieri, a consultant with former MRT maintenance contractor Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corp, citing his own calculations.
The DOTr earlier said that the trains delivered by Dalian Locomotive weighed 49.7 tons each, much heavier than the 46.3 ton specified by the agency.
But Bieri told the Senate Committee on Public Services chaired by Senator Grace Poe that the DOTr itself also specified that the trains would have an axle weight of 8.5 to 10 tons, and the tracks could not handle anything heavier.
He explained that the 49.7 ton weight of each Dalian train had to be divided by the 8 axles of the train.
"Then you get the axle load for the empty car. So we are far away from an overloaded car," Bieri said.
When fully loaded with around 394 passengers, the projected weight of each train would come to around 75.2 tons, which when divided by 8 axles came to around 9.4 tons -- still within the allowable limit of 10 tons specified by the DOTr, according to Beri.
The Dalian trains, purchased for P3.8 billion, had not been used due to questions over its compatibility with the MRT tracks.
Poe also criticized the trains as being "overweight" as the original specification of the DOTr was that the trains should weigh 46.3 tons each.
German firm TUV Rheinland is currently auditing the Dalian trains to determine if they can safely be used with the MRT.
Transportation undersecretary for railways Timothy John Batan said that if the Dalian trains are cleared "without conditions" they could be used "right away" for the MRT.
Batan said there are currently only 7 trains running on the MRT, even though the system needs 20 trains during peak hours.
TUV Rheinland is expected to come out with a preliminary evaluation on the Dalian trains by the end of February, he said.