Brand new rails will soon be placed on the tracks of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) as 100 percent of the rail shipment has arrived at Harbor Centre Port Terminal in Manila Tuesday night for the overhaul and comprehensive rehabilitation of the rail line.
The shipment, which arrived several months ahead of the scheduled date of delivery, comprised of 4,053 pieces of 18-meter rails that will replace all tracks along the MRT-3’s 17-kilometer mainline. The delivery had a total weight of 4,000 tons.
The rails, manufactured by Nippon Steel Corporation, were shipped from Fukuoka, Japan, following the successful factory test by the Factory Acceptance Team (FAT) for rails headed by MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati.
The ship bearing the rail shipment, M/V Eastern Opal, departed the Port of Yawata in Japan on July 3. Cargo unloading from the vessel began late Tuesday night.
The new rails will be delivered and prepared for installation at the Tracks Laydown Yard near the Parañaque Integrated Transport Exchange (PITX).
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said the new rails are needed to improve the reliability of the train service.
“Ang utos ni Secretary Tugade, palitan na ‘yung mga degraded at baku-bakong riles. This is long overdue. In fact, ‘yung kasalukuyang degraded state ng ating mga riles ang nagiging dahilan kaya nagiging matagtag ang takbo ng MRT-3. At ‘yang tagtag na ‘yan ay isa sa pinakamalaking root causes kung bakit tayo nagkakaroon ng aberya (Secretary [Arthur] Tugade has ordered to replace the degraded and uneven rails. This is long overdue. In fact, the current degraded state of our rails is the reason why the trip of the MRT-3 is bumpy. And that is one of the biggest root causes why we have malfunctions),” Batan said.
Meanwhile, Tugade noted that the MRT-3 rehabilitation project is moving as planned, and on schedule.
“We are happy that the rails we procured arrived much earlier than scheduled. In fact, 2-3 months ahead of schedule,” Tugade said.
Other rail parts will start arriving in Manila in October 2019. Rail replacement works will be conducted at non-operating hours at night starting November 2019, and for completion by February 2021.
With the repair of the MRT-3’s wheel lathe machine last March and the upcoming replacement of all of MRT-3’s mainline tracks, trains will be running smoother and with less vibration.
Under the MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project, Sumitomo-MHI-TESP will undertake the overhaul of all 72 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) of the MRT-3, replace all mainline tracks, rehabilitate power and overhead catenary systems, upgrade the signaling system, communications and CCTV systems, and repair all of MRT-3’s escalators and elevators, among other system repairs and improvements.
Through this massive rehabilitation project, the DOTr and the MRT-3 expect to raise the number of operating trains from 15 to 20 at peak hours, double the train operating speed from 30 to 60 kilometers per hour, and slash by half the headway or time between trains from 7-10 minutes to just 3.5 minutes. Train capacity will also double to 650,000 passengers daily.
The project will be conducted for 43 months, with rehabilitation works slated for completion within the first 26 months. (PNA)