By: Ernie Reyes | | September 8, 2015

MANILA, Philippines -- It will take at least six more months for Metro Manila’s train-riding commuters can expect any reprieve from the long lines and cramped rides they have been enduring for months.

This is because the 144 new coaches, or 47 trains, for the Metro Rail Transit will be arriving and begin operating in the first quarter of 2016, or March at the latest, engineer Roman Buenafe, general manager of the mass transport system told Senator Grace Poe.

Poe was at the MRT’s north terminal depot to inspect the prototype of the train, which was delivered in June by China’s Dalian Automotive Corp. and is undergoing compatibility tests by the Department of Transportation and Communication.

The train’s engines are manufactured by Voith, a German company, Buenafe said.

Once the prototype passes the tests, expected to be finished in December, “we will give the go-signal for mass production” of the 47 trains Buenafe told Poe.

Aside from this, Buenafe told Poe the DOTC has ordered 7,000 linear meters of rail tracks from a Chinese manufacturer that are now being tested for strength at the Metal Industry Research and Development Center of the Department of Science and Technology.

The MRT manager said each of the new trains, which have three coaches each, can accommodate 1,192 passengers, or 384 to a car.