By Kristine De Guzman | CNN Philippines | September 4, 2015
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) unveiled the MRT prototype on Thursday (September 3) as engineers from China completed its assembly.
The prototype arrived in the country two weeks ago from Dalian, China, where it was built. It has a single coach with three sections.
It was delivered to the LRT-1 depot after midnight on Thursday, and assembly began at the break of dawn.
Chinese engineers from Dalian Locomotive arrived in the country early this week to assemble the MRT prototype. After it was assembled, the prototype will be towed to the MRT depot for further testing.
"Yung specs, yung static, [and] dynamic testing will happen pagdating na sa MRT," Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya explained.
While the prototype has the same specifications as the old MRT coaches, it has a different design. It also has new features such as handle bars beside the door and seat belts for wheelchairs.
How does it compare with the old coaches?
The prototype has the same size that fits on the elevated railway, but there are changes on the accessories.
It also has new air cooling systems.
Transport officials said the new units will operate in the first quarter of next year, as trials will be done for the remaining months of 2015.
The traction motor and brake system from Germany will be installed in November, in time for the test run.
"We're trying our best to bring it in earlier so we've gotten in touch with the Chinese Embassy and the German Embassy to help us. They know the situation of the MRT," Abaya said.
Once transport officials approve the prototype, three coaches will arrive every month beginning March 2016 until the first half of 2017.
There will be a total of 48 new coaches, which will hopefully bring relief to weary commuters.