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More commuters can benefit from PNR (Philippine National Railway) trains, as the railway agency adds two new train sets in their operations. Made in Indonesia, the coaches went through 150 hours of rigorous validation test, equipped with safety and security features. They were formally launched to the public last February 20, as shown in the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Facebook page.
The two new 8100 series of Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) sets feature eight rail cars, each having a four-car formation, which were supplied by PT Industri Kereta Api (INKA), one of Indonesia’s leading rolling stock manufacturers.
Designed to enhance passenger safety and comfort, they come with obstacle door detectors, keeping passengers from getting squeezed in between entranceways; polycarbonate glass windows, preventing breakages from stone-throwing and other perilous incidents; and tropicalized air conditioning units that regulate better temperature control inside the trains.
With the trains in full operations, it’s set to accommodate 1,000 passengers per trip in its assigned route, Tutuban to Alabang.
According to PNR General Manager Junn Magno, the initiative forms part of their commitment to improving rail network services. He also vowed to provide enough trains to serve the southern and part of the northern corridor, opening the Valenzuela lane to help decongest EDSA.
Better National Railways
Aiming to provide more efficient public transportation, PNR purchased a total of 37 railcars, which are to be delivered in the country by batches. Last year, they received the first batch, consisting of six railcars, which were then deployed for operations on December 16.
The brand new coaches were expected to serve 13,500 additional passengers every day, as each of the railcars accommodates 250 passengers, Manila Bulletin reported. They also added 18 to 20 more trips a day in its assigned routes, from Tutuban, Manila to FTI, Taguig and from Malabon to FTI.
The PNR expects to have two more train sets, three locomotives and 15 passenger coaches, and two shunter units by the first half of 2020.
All in all, the new fleets will result in increased passenger capacity, approximately double its current. From 48,000 to 60,000 passengers at present, the modernized railway can accommodate 140,000 people a day.
Responsive Rail Sector
The railway industry has been one of the main priorities of the government, given the mass transport issues and worsening traffic conditions in different parts of the country. Last November, President Duterte signed an executive order for the creation of the Philippine Railways Institute (PRI), a research and training agency focused on improving the workforce offering railway transportation services. Under the DOTr, the main goal of the office is to make sure that the riding public enjoys efficient, reliable, and safe transportation modes.
Tasked to create a comprehensive human resources development program, PRI can partner with organizations that specialize in these initiatives. Part of it is creating technical standards and guidelines for safe operations on trains.
PRI also outlines the rules and regulations for the issuance of certificates and accreditation of training facilities and independent training centers.
Recently, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) expressed support to PRI’s initiatives, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) reported. The office promised to create a system of credits, in which the certification from PRI training can be converted into academic units applicable for graduate studies and continuing professional education.
To promote railway engineering among the youth, especially those at the university level, CHED also vowed to incorporate some contents of the PRI certificate program in the existing engineering curricula and/or elective subjects. The officials specifically identified the University of the Philippines, Mindanao State University, Batangas State University, Mapua University, and Technological Institute of the Philippines in terms of improving the expertise of educational institutions.
The officials also said that they would encourage top engineering universities and colleges to send their experts and train people in PRI programs. In addition, they’re looking at creating opportunities for partnership between local and Japanese universities for collaborative research and development projects for better railway projects.
The modernization of the railway sector, which forms part of the golden age of infrastructure, is among the top priorities of the present administration as the government works on attracting more investments, reducing poverty, and making economic growth inclusive. Focused on Filipinos’ collective vision enshrined in AmBisyon Natin 2040, public officials strive to provide citizens a “strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life.”
Sources: DOTr, Manila Bulletin, PIA
Main photo via the DOTr Facebook page