By Emmie Abadilla
The entire shipment of the brand new rails for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) arrived at Harbour Centre Port Terminal in Manila on July 9, 2019, and will soon be placed on the tracks as part of the railway’s overhaul and rehabilitation that is expected to be completed by July 2021.
The shipment, which arrived several months ahead of the scheduled date of delivery, is composed of 4,053 pieces of 18-meter rails that will replace all tracks along MRT-3’s 17-kilometer main line.
The delivery had a total weight of 4,000 tons.
Nippon Steel Corporation manufactured the rails and shipped them out from Fukuoka, Japan, following the successful factory test which the Factory Acceptance Team (FAT) for rails conducted.
The ship bearing the rail shipment, M/V Eastern Opal, departed the Port of Yawata in Japan on July 3, 2019 and started unloading the cargo from the vessel late the other 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) Secretary Arthur 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, two-three months ahead of schedule. The MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project which Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy is undertaking is on track and will be finished on July, 2021.”
The degraded state of the rails is the root problems in the operation of the MRT3, according to Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan. Hence, the new rails will improve the reliability of the train service.
Other rail parts will start arriving in Manila in October, 2019.
With this, rail replacement works will be conducted at non-operating hours at night starting November, 2019, to be completed 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.
Excess vibration impairs the proper functioning of any mechanical and electrical equipment, causing MRT-3 train breakdowns in the past.
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 signalling system, communications and CCTV systems, and repair all of MRT-3’s escalators and elevators, among other system repairs and improvements.
Through the 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 spans 43 months, with rehabilitation works slated for completion within the first 26 months.