By Nestor Corrales | | October 1, 2015

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has awarded the signaling system upgrade project of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) to a Canadian company as part of the agency’s railway rehabilitation efforts.

In a statement on Thursday, DOTC said Bombardier Transportation Signal, Ltd. won the P53.37-million contract to upgrade the MRT’s obsolete signaling system.

“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. This will improve reliability and efficiency of the rail system for the benefit of our passengers,” said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

Under the contract, Bombardier will replace the existing local control system called MAN 900 with the more contemporary EBI Screen 900.

DOTC said EBI Screen 900 was a software with the same functionality as MAN 900 but would allow the use of modern personal computers and fiber optic technology.

“Within the first month of the contract, Bombardier will provide the required hardware upgrades and software licenses; install, test, and commission support of the new system; carry out the migration of existing data and functions; and train MRT-3 personnel on proper operation and maintenance,” DOTC said adding that the upgrade would last for seven months.

In recent months, several technical problems halted the operations of the MRT-3 due to glitches in the railway’s signaling system. This resulted in fewer operating trains and slower travel.

DOTC said the signaling system maintains safe distances between trains and controls their speed.

“Apart from modernizing the software components, this upgrade will also ensure the availability of spare parts needed for the uninterrupted and efficient operation of the metropolis’ busiest rail line,” Abaya said.

DOTC said “Bombardier holds exclusive proprietary rights to supply new components, as it designed, developed, and implemented the entire MRT-3 signaling system when it was constructed.” CB