DOTr: More tests needed on 48 Chinese-made coaches for MRT 3
More tests would have to be conducted on 48 Chinese-made Dalian train coaches, which were bought under the Aquino administration, before they could be used by Metro Rail Transit 3, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Tuesday.
The DOTr made the announcement three days after the report by independent audit firm TUV Rheinland was supposed to have come out.
The release of the report is expected to pave the way for the rollout of the coaches, which have been gathering dust for over a year now at the MRT 3 depot.
The firm’s assessment has been “substantially completed,” according to the DOTr.
But according to TUV Rheinland‘s interim report, which has been submitted to the DOTr, there’s still a need to gather “additional information on design and validation evidence.”
There‘s also a need to conduct more “type and routine tests” on the coaches, made by the CRRC Dalian Co. Ltd.
One of the tests that the audit firm recommended deals with the weight of the coaches.
The DOTr said this test would be needed since “the previous project team failed to attend and witness the weight testing done in Dalian, China, in November 2015.”
“[T]he weighing test should be done to eliminate any doubts, and so DOTr MRT 3 can witness and formally sign off on the trains’ weight,” the DOTr said.
Earlier, rail officials pointed out that the P3.8-billion coaches were overweight by at least 3 tons.
In the contract, the DOTr specified coaches weighing 46.3 tons each. But those that were delivered weighed 49.7 tons each.
During a recent Senate committee hearing, former MRT consultant Rolf Bieri pointed out that the DOTr also specified that the trains should have an axle weight of up to 10 tons.
By his calculations, he noted that the Dalian trains would still be within the allowable limit even if it were to be fully loaded with passengers.
Still, the DOTr maintained that it had to be thorough to ensure that the Dalian trains would safe and compatible with the MRT 3 system before it could be used by the public.
“Knowing that the Dalian trains will affect the safety of hundreds of thousands of MRT 3 passengers daily, the DOTr and MRT 3 management will ensure that the necessary processes are observed in their (TUV Rheinland’s) assessment,” the DOTr said. “Regardless of the independent assessment’s outcome, this administration remains committed in running after the officials that caused the current degraded state of MRT 3.”
The DOTr did not say, however, when the weight test on the trains to be held in Manila would be done and when the full audit report could be expected to be submitted.
The rollout of the 48 Dalian train coaches, all fully delivered in January last year, could significantly improve the reliability of the country’s busiest train line, which is currently down to just 10 operational trains. /atm
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