By: Saul Pa-a
CALAMBA CITY, Laguna — The first Filipino-made hybrid electric train went on its test run from this city’s Philippine National Railway (PNR) station on Wednesday morning, amid concerns about aftershocks in the aftermath of Monday’s Magnitude 6.1 earthquake that shook Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon Region.
Touted as an efficient solution to the country’s traffic woes, it was assembled by the Dept. of Science and Technology’s Metal Industry Research Development Center (DOST-MIRDC).
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday before its pre-validation test run, DOST-MIRDC Hybrid Electric Train Project Head, Engr. Pablo Acuin said the hybrid electric train is considered the first mass transport vehicle of its kind made in this country.
“For us, we designed this hybrid train with features similar to the PNR train which goes through testing that could withstand intensity or magnitude by train standards. Although we are not yet aware for any PNR standard like during a strong earthquake,” Acuin said.
He added that in the event of moderate earthquakes, PNR will suspend train operations and check on the condition of the railroad tracks.
He explained that the hybrid train is equipped with an automatic stop safety feature which will be very helpful should a strong earthquake occur.
“Pero nung nag test kami nung Monday na nagka-earthquake, hindi namin nararamdaman dito. Dire-diretso lang yung takbo namin (When we had this test on Monday during an earthquake, we hardly felt it. The trip went on without any hitch),” he said.
According to Acuin, the hybrid train project team conducted their testing last year, running it around 5,000 kilometers, passing the PNR’s standards.
The project head engineer said they embarked on daily test runs from the Mamatid to Cabuyao City PNR Stations, stretching some 4.5 kilometers, running an average of 200 kilometers, for three months.
He said the PNR detected minor problems during the tests, all of which were quickly remedied.
“We have a generator which consumes less fuel using electricity-generated power source that also emits less carbon into the air and thus it is environment-friendly,” he said.
Developed by a pool of 10 Filipino engineers and technicians at the DOST-MIRDC together with industry partners, the train was assembled at the PNR Caloocan depot.
He said the train has five coaches, designed by Filipino experts although the actual manufacturing was outsourced.
Around 900 passengers could be accommodated by the hybrid electric train, which is expected to go on its commercial run by May this year. (PNA)