The Department of Transportation is eyeing the completion of MRT-3 rail replacement works as early as September 30 of this year—or five months ahead of the original February 2021 target completion date—thanks to the extension of repair hours from five to 10 hours daily during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.
Previously, workers had conducted rail repairs on the MRT-3 from 11pm to 4am; with the shutdown of public transport under the ECQ, working hours were adjusted to 7pm to 5am. In total, 36,540 linear meters out of 65,982 linear meters of rail have been replaced, of which 5,616 linear meters were completed during ECQ.
“Buhos trabaho tayo sa paglatag ng mga bagong riles. Ang sabi po ng mga kontratista natin, we are on time sa paglatag ng bagong riles. In fact, noong huling pulong ko sa kanila, sinabi nilang pipilitin nilang tapusin sa buwan ng Setyembre, higit na maaga kaysa sa orihinal na scheduled completion nito sa February 2021,” said Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade. “Tinututukan po natin ito upang lalong mapabilis, ng sa gayon ay mapakinabangan na ng ating mga kababayan.”
Upon the completion of rail replacement activities, the running speed of MRT-3 trains will be increased gradually, with the maximum of 60kph expected to be reached by December. The current running speed of MRT-3 trains is 30kph.
As a result, waiting time between trains is expected to decrease from 8.5 to 3.5 minutes. The DOTr estimates that this improvement, along with the addition of five operational trains for a maximum of 20, will double daily passenger capacity from 300,000 to 600,000.
The MRT-3’s rehabilitation under the Sumitomo-MHI-TESP also includes upgrades to the signaling, communications, and CCTV systems, the restoration of power and overhead catenary systems, an overhaul of the 72 light rail vehicles in the current fleet, and the repair of escalators and elevators.