Japanese envoy visits MRT-3
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Kazuhiko Koshikawa paid a visit to the MRT-3 on Friday, 08 January 2021, as part of the ambassador's inspection of Japan-assisted railway infrastructure projects.
The envoy rode a newly-overhauled MRT-3 train, the first time a foreign dignitary ever did, and inspected the rail line's depot along with its equipment and facilities.
Along the way, he was briefed by DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade of the changes in the depot ever since the consortium of Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has taken over as the rail line's maintenance provider.
"Before, no spare parts. Now, it overflows," Secretary Tugade told Ambassador Koshikawa.
MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael J. Capati also reported to the dignitaries some of the rail line's milestones, the most recent of which is its deployment of 22 running train sets at the main line for four consecutive days, beginning 02 January 2021.
For his part, the ambassador commended the DOTr MRT-3 and the Sumitomo-MHI for the remarkable results of their maintenance and repair efforts of the rail line's train and rail structures.
Earlier on 12 December 2020, the Japanese envoy also conveyed his congratulatory greeting to the MRT-3, when it reached a 60kph operating speed for all the trains deployed at the revenue line.
The MRT-3 hiked its train running speed from 50kph to 60kph on 07 December 2020, cutting average time between trains to only 3.5 to 4 minutes from the previous 8.5 to 9 minutes. Travel time was shortened to only 50 minutes from the previous 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The increase in speed is a result of the rail replacement works in the entire main line, which was completed in September 2020, several months ahead of its scheduled February 2021 completion.
Other than the replacement of rails, the Sumitomo-MHI is also tasked, under the MRT-3 rehabilitation project, to undertake the overhaul of all 72 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) of the MRT-3, rehabilitate power and overhead catenary systems, and upgrade the signaling system, communications and CCTV systems, among other system repairs and improvements. The entire rehabilitation project is slated for completion this year.
During the site inspection, Ambassador Koshikawa was also accompanied by DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, Chief-of-Staff and Assistant Secretary for procurement and project implementation Giovanni Lopez, Assistant Secretary for Railways Fidel Cruz, Assistant Secretary for Mindanao Projects Eymard Eje, and MRT-3 General Manager Rodolfo J. Garcia. ###