At last, almost two decades after the project’s unsolicited proposal was submitted, the MRT-7 is opening next year.
“We’re confident we can achieve full, complete operations by December next year, with our first test run scheduled for June next year.”
At present, “We have already completed a significant amount of civil works, including the installation of bored piles, girders, foundational works on stations, and we have been installing rails or tracks,” he explained.
At the same time, E&M works have also advanced significantly.
For the project’s elevated section, some 6.2 kilometers of the target 13.5 kms. has been completed while for the at-grade sections, 4.8 km. of the target 6.9 kms. has been done.
Also, 1.5 kms. out of the 1.9km. tunnel portion, is finished.
“Compared to our recently-completed Skyway 3 project, the MRT-7 project is actually more complex,” Ang revealed.
Ang described Skyway 3 as “one of the most difficult we’ve had to undertake because of changes to its alignment and the engineering solutions we’ve had to employ to mitigate right-of-way (ROW) problems.”
“Apart from complex construction work, MRT-7 construction involves a lot of mechanical and electrical work,” added Ang.
“There are so many systems to be integrated to ensure we can efficiently and safely run a large number of passenger trains to serve the public.”
Despite delays to construction and workforce limitations caused by the pandemic, work on the MRT-7 has continued at a steady pace.
Once complete, MRT-7 will make daily commutes from Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan faster and easier. It will link up with MRT-3 and LRT-1, providing greater access and seamless travel. It will also spur economic growth in Bulacan and help decongest Metro Manila.
“Now, that we’ve crossed the halfway mark, we expect to reach a lot of major milestones for the project this year. This includes the construction of the stations, testing of various equipment in different countries, and the actual arrival of these equipment, including the first batch of trains,” Ang expounded.
Factory acceptance testing (FAT) of an initial six trains or 18 cars, is scheduled for April in South Korea.
SMC purchased the trains from South Korea Hyundai Rotem, with the country’s national rail manufacturer, Korea Railroad Corporation (KORAIL), serving as its adviser.
If the trains pass the tests, which will be witnessed by KORAIL officials together with SMC and Department of Transportation (DOTr) representatves, the first batch of trains will arrive within the year.
More trains will then be delivered every month.
A total of 36 trains or 108 cars are being procured by SMC for the project. The company said its depot will be capable of holding up to 150 trains for future capacity expansion, if needed.
Meanwhile, manufacturing of other important equipment, sourced from various countries, have also been completed.
These include ticket vending machines and automatic gates, with factory acceptance tests scheduled within the first quarter of this year.
Manufacturing and testing of communications systems are finished.
Initial batches of third rail equipment—responsible for delivering electrical power to the trains—and track works such as rails and fastening assemblies, have been completed.
Various other railway operations equipment such those needed for automatic fare systems, communication systems, signaling systems, power supply systems, third rail, track works systems and rolling stock maintenance equipment—used for the maintenance of trains– will be delivered from various countries throughout the year.
“There is still a lot of work to be done. And on top of that, similar to Skyway 3, there are still many right-of-way (ROW) issues pending for the MRT-7 project,” Ang conceded.
“But we will continue working, we just keep on building and doing what we can in areas where we can work, so that we can finish this faster.”
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