DOST to present locally-designed train to PNR by October

The Department of Science and Technology Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) has developed a train set design which will be presented to the Philippine National Railways (PNR) by October.

”The design will be presented to us (PNR) next week or October,” Reuben Besmonte, PNR’s Head of the Rolling Stock Maintenance Department told the Philippines News Agency.

However, there is still no official talks with PNR regarding the payment for the purchase of the train, Besmonte stressed, as they will be checking the design first.

Besmonte said the PNR does not have the number of orders yet, as it is still considering if the locally-designed train is cheaper than imported ones.

He also disclosed that a Korean company was bidding for a similar train set this 2014 at 3.2 million USD, much higher than the 2007 bidding price of 1.67 million USD.

He said that PNR contributed to the design of the train set being assembled with five coaches, the first and only train made by Filipino engineers.

DOST-Materials & Process Research Division Officer-in-Charge Rodnel Tamayo added that assembly of the train set will be completed next year and will be ready for testing latest during the third quarter of 2015.

Tamayo said the train is just awaiting arrival of certain parts, but the train coaches are undergoing fabrication here in the Philippines.

He also pointed out that the train set’s designs and specifications has already been completed.

However, Tamayo stressed that further tests will be made on the train to ensure its sturdiness and bigger capacity.

”This train set was also made in partnership with PNR, so for sure someone will adopt our train set,” Tamayo said.

PNR and DOST has formalized the collaboration, through an earlier signed memorandum of agreement (MOA).

Tamayo said that part of PNR’s responsibilities is to assist on the operation and maintenance of prototype trains, while also permitting them to use PNR’s railway tracks during the testing.

The DOST estimates that the design and development of the train set is currently worth Php 133 million. It is solely funded by the DOST, while PNR provided technical assistance.

He added the train set also has the function of running as a hybrid transport system, capable of running either by diesel or electricity.

In case of brownouts, the train can run on diesel alone through the generator sets installed in the transport unit.

Tamayo explained that the generator sets and motors are imported, but local suppliers are available to provide for the replacement of parts. The motors used in the train set are ABB’s Delta and Mitsubishi’s Teco, while the gensets by Powerasia and Perkins.

Also, the train has the advantage of shortened maintenance time, since parts can be easily purchased in the country.

The train set is capable of accommodating 120 passengers per coach, or the transport of 600 people for every train set which has a full length of 60 meters.

The coach costs Php 20 million each, a lower cost due mostly to locally sourced materials.

The train is projected to run up to a maximum 80 kilometers per hour (KPH), with its 125-horsepower motor. --by Juzel L. Danganan (PNA)