The Department of Transportation tapped a German company to evaluate and make recommendations on the 48 light rail vehicles that were delivered by CRRC Dalian of China for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 system.
Transportation Undersecretary for railways TJ Batan said the DOTr-MRT 3 team met with TUV Rheinland, the winning independent audit and assessment consultant for the new LRVs.
TUV Rheinland, a German firm established in 1872, met the high qualifications given its ISO 17020 and ISO 17065 certifications and membership in the International Federation of Inspection Agencies. Other similarly qualified firms that participated in the bidding were TUV SUD and Bureau Veritas.
Batan said the DOTr assured the IAA that it would not interfere or influence the assessment on the 48 LRVs.
“We will not in any way try to influence their independent assessment of the 48 cars from Dalian, and we would decide based on their recommendation. If they said the LRVs could be immediately deployed, we will consider,” Batan said.
“If they said the LRVs could be deployed with necessary adjustments, we will consider, of course, [but] not at our expense. And if they said the LRVs should be returned, then we would return them,” Batan said.
Concerns were earlier raised on the compatibility with the MRT 3 system of the 48 LRVs procured by the Aquino administration for P3.8 billion. Not a single LRV from Dalian was put into operation so far.
The Chinese LRVs, weighing 49,700 kilograms each, exceeded the weight prescribed in the terms of reference at 46,300 kg. Compatibility with the MRT-3’s maintenance facilities and signaling system also became an issue.
Batan said that with the current fleet of Czech-made trains, MRT-3 could operate up to 20 three-car trains. If the 48 LRVs were cleared to run, the number could be increased to 20 four-car trains.
“The original design capacity of MRT 3 at peak hours is 20 three-car trains, running at 60-kph, with a 3-minute headway,” Batan said.
“At the same time, MRT-3 was also designed to be expandable to 20 four-car trains, running with a 2-minutes headway. That is our target,” he said.
Spare parts for the maintenance of MRT-3 will start arriving in tranches from February to June.
Batan said the system would conduct general maintenance works during the Holy Week.