SMC expects to start full operations of MRT7 by December next year

San Miguel Corporation on Friday said it expects to start full operations of the Metro Rail Transit Line (MRT-7)  by December 2022.

“Our progress for the MRT-7 project as of January 2021 is at about 54 percent . 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. At the same time, E&M works have also advanced significantly,”  SMC president Ramon S. Ang said.

Ang said that for the project’s elevated section, some 6.2 kilometers of the target 13.5 kms. has been completed. For the at-grade sections, 4.8 km. of the target 6.9 kms. has been completed. Meanwhile, 1.5 kms. out of the 1.9km. tunnel portion, is done.

“Given our progress today, and all the major milestones we’re expecting this year and the next, I think we’re confident we can achieve full, complete operations by December next year, with our first test run scheduled for June next year. By then, I believe we would be recovering already from the impacts of COVID-19,” Ang said 

“Our economy will be on the way up, and people will be resuming their lives in the next normal. MRT-7 will be ready for them, to help make commutes faster, to boost our economy, and bring growth to more areas,” he added. 

Ang said that 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, Ang said. 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 have been also been completed. Initial batches of third rail equipment—responsible for delivering electrical power to the trains—and track works such as rails and fastening assemblies, have also 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–are set to be delivered from various countries throughout the year.

Once complete, the MRT-7 project 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 is also seen to spur economic growth in Bulacan, as businesses and residential developments are seen to further grow in the area, contributing to the decongestion of Metro  Manila.

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