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Issues with Dalian trains delaying new MRT-3 maintenance agreement

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MRT 3

THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said issues with Chinese commuter trains ordered from CRRC Dalian Co trains are delaying the signing of maintenance deal with Sumitomo Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Sumitomo-MHI) for Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade told reporters on Friday that the deal is still expected for signing within the next two months, after the original timetable of an August or September signing lapsed.

“There’s still an issue about the Dalian trains. We’re still discussing it,” he said.

The Dalian trains are 48 Light Rail Vehicles procured under the previous government intended for use on the MRT-3, but the DoTr said they cannot be deployed yet because of issues centered on the measurements and weight of the trains.

“I wanted that signed already…. It’s not that they don’t want to sign. We’re just talking about the timing,” Mr. Tugade added, without providing details.

The DoTr said late last year that it was in high-level discussions with the government of Japan for the comeback of Sumitomo-MHI as the maintenance provider for the MRT-3. The Japanese firms designed the system between 1998 and 2000 and maintained it for 12 years until 2012.

Last month, the DoTr directed the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to conduct simulated runs with the Dalian trains to test their suitability for revenue service.

After the evaluation, PNR must submit a report to Mr. Tugade indicating if the train sets still need further adjustment from CRRC Dalian before deployment. The Chinese firm committed to the DoTr in July to rectify problems with the trains for free.

The DoTr terminated its contract with MRT-3 maintenance provider Busan Universal Rail, Inc. (BURI) late last year, alleging its failure to maintain the train line’s efficiency. — Denise A. Valdez