• DOTC to award P53-M contract for MRT-3 signaling system

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    A SEVEN-MONTH signaling system upgrade for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) will take place as soon as Canada’s Bombardier gets the P53-million contract to replace the outdated control system.

    The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it is in the process of awarding the contract for the signaling system upgrade.

    The contract calls for the installation of new software and the use of personal computers and fiber optic technology.

    Most of the glitches experienced by commuters on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) in the past months will be eliminated once the new system is in place, the DOTC said.

    “This upgrade of an obsolete signaling system, which should have been done by the private sector owner years ago, is crucial in minimizing operational disruptions,” DOTC Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya said.

    “This will improve reliability and efficiency of the rail system for the benefit of our passengers,” he added.

    Bombardier will replace the local control system called MAN 900 with the contemporary EBI Screen 900 – software with the same functionality as MAN 900, which allows the use of personal computers and fiber optic technology. The upgrade will take seven months to complete.

    The signaling system keeps safe distances between trains by controlling the engine speed.
    The upgrade also ensures the availability of spare parts that will result in uninterrupted and efficient operation of the metropolis’ busiest commuter rail line.

    In the first month of the contract, Bombardier will provide the required hardware upgrades and software licenses, as well as install, test, and commission the new system.

    The contractor is also expected to carry out the migration of existing data and functions, and train MRT-3 personnel on proper operation and maintenance.

    Bombardier holds the exclusive proprietary rights to supply the new components. It designed, developed, and implemented the entire MRT-3 signaling system when it was first constructed.

    The recently-launched beep cards and the new tap-and-go ticketing system will be activated at all MRT-3 stations starting October 3, to help shorten queuing time for passengers, the DOTC also said.

    The ongoing refurbishment of 12 Schindler escalators is expected to be completed before the year end, while the rehabilitation of MRT-3 toilets is presently being carried out with six facilities already open to the public.

    Over 7,000 linear meters of new rails are also to be installed within the year to replace worn-out tracks and ensure safer and smoother rides.

    The 17-kilometer MRT-3 is DOTC’s integrated strategy to alleviate the traffic congestion along EDSA. The commuter train conveys about 600,000 passengers a day.

    Forty-eight brand-new coaches will be delivered in tranches from 2015 to 2017 to address the train system’s overcapacity problems.

    Under the procurement contract for the new coaches, the train supplier has 18 months or until the third quarter of 2015 to deliver its prototype unit for testing before the rest of the light rail vehicles are delivered on a monthly basis.

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