To further expedite comprehensive rehabilitation works, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) on Thursday said it considers a full suspension of operations during holidays.

Engr. Michael Capati, MRT-3 director for operations, said holidays —especially the Holy Week long weekend—will give them enough time to finish rail replacements and other rehabilitation works ahead of schedule.

“Kung may mga long weekend, baka humingi po kami ng isang araw na walang biyahe para naman po mas marami tayong magawang riles at ito pong incoming natin na Holy Week, gagawin ko pong parehong seven days po yan wala pong biyahe (If there are long weekends, I might ask for a day without operations to allow for more rail replacements and in this coming Holy Week, I will make it seven days without operations),” Capati said.

The rail official said rehabilitation works during these holidays will also include the upgrading and rehabilitation of the signaling system and overhead catenary cables (OCS)—not including the rehabilitation of MRT-3 trains which are performed at the MRT depot.

“Hindi lang po riles ang ating inaayos diyan. Kasabay po niyan yung signalling, yung OCS power natin. (It’s not only the rails that will be fixed. In concurrence will be the signaling, our OCS power),” Capati said.

To avoid further deterioration of the current transportation situation in Metro Manila, Capati said they will also perform rail replacements and other works during off hours.

“During non-revenue hours—alas dose ng madaling araw hanggang alas kwatro ng umaga—araw-araw namin gagawin yung unti-unting pagpapalit ng riles natin (12 midnight until 4 a.m. in the morning—every day we will perform gradual rail replacements),” Capati said.

Currently, Capati said the MRT-3 and maintenance provider Sumitomo-MHI-TESP (Sumitomo) have started rail replacement works through the preparation of equipment and work areas for the welding of rails on Monday.

He said this was in preparation for the actual rail replacement works which will start in November, three months ahead of schedule.

In addition, Capati lauded Sumitomo for the early delivery of spare parts which resulted in the early repair and maintenance of MRT-3 trains.

By July 2021 rail replacements and other rehabilitation works are expected to be completed which will allow for the increase in the operational speed of MRT-3 trains from 30 kilometers per hour (km/h) to 60 km/h, from 15 to 20 trains in operations, and headway of 3.5 minutes from the current 7.5 minutes.

“July 2021 po matatapos lahat. The whole stretch po yan. At the same time, kasabay na po ang pag-overhaul ng tren natin (By July 2021 all will be completed. That’s the whole stretch. At the same time, this is in concurrence with the overhaul of our trains),” Capati said. (PNA)