‘Retrofit train cost for Dalian’s account’

“In my discussions [with Dalian team], we agreed that if some works need to be done, they should be addressed. But all the costs should be shouldered by [CRRC] Dalian.”

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade insisted for the CRRC Dalian Co. of China to absorb the cost of the technical adjustments to the 48 defective train cars bought from the company under then President Aquino for P3.8 billion.

Tugade made the statement after meeting with the chairman of CRRC Dalian and other top brass as well as with Ambassador Zhao Jianhua of China. During the meeting, Tugade discussed the results of the independent audit and assessment by TUV Rheinland on the 48 coaches.

“Are the trains usable? The answer is, based on the independent audit, we found several inadequacies in the coaches that were delivered. In relation to the details of the terms of reference (ToR) upon which the bid was awarded, there were some variations. The variations include weight and measurement (discrepancies),” Tugade said.

The Dalian trains were procured under then-Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to increase the passenger capacity of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3). Since their delivery in 2016, not one of the coaches has been utilized because of reported compatibility issues and signaling defects.

Also, the Dalian trains weigh 49.7 metric tons, or far above the maximum allowable weight of 46.4 metric tons in the contract, making them unsafe for use on the existing MRT-3 rails.

Officials from theDepartment of Transportation (DoTr) said the Philippines has thus far paid only P800 million of the P3.8-billion contract with Dalian.

According to Tugade, the independent audit by TUV Rheinland said the defective train cars could still be used provided the adjustments identified in the review were addressed. “If you read the evaluation [of Rheinland], it was saying that if we make the necessary technical adjustments, we can still use the coaches and the trains without sacrificing the safety, the security and the lives of the passengers as well as the system.”

As to how much work needs to be done on the Dalian trains, Secretary Tugade said: “one word – manageable.”

“In my discussions [with Dalian team], we agreed that if some works need to be done, they should be addressed. But all the costs should be shouldered by [CRRC] Dalian without a single cent of expense from the Philippine government,” Tugade added.

Details to the adjustments identified by the independent audit was seen completed before a high-level meeting between the Philippines government and China set for August 20 this year.

TUV Rheinland is a German company established in 1872. It is an ISO 17020 and 17065 certified firm (as an accredited certifier) and is one of the largest members of the International Federation of Inspection Agencies (IFIA). TUV Rheinland has independently audited 2,353 train cars, 762-km of railways, across more than 50 projects.

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