The Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is keen on developing a locally designed and built train by April this year with test runs to start in May.

Science Secretary Mario Montejo said that development work on their Electric Hybrid Train (EHT) project has been fast-tracked by their Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) when it decided to buy the bogie for the train from a Korean company, Sung Shin Rolling Stock Technology Co., Ltd.

“We bought the bogie last November,” Montejo said, adding Sung Shin is thinking of setting up shop in the country.

“Our project has shown them the potential of building trains here,” he said.

He said the decision was made after realizing that development work on a locally designed and fabricated bogie will take a while as well as entail bigger investment.

Apart from the bogie, however, Montejo said that all the other parts, mainly the train body and other accessories and equipment, will be fabricated and built by Filipino companies.

“It will be an electric-powered train like the Electric Road Train we’re developing,” he explained.

Montejo said that the first set they will assemble will be a five-coach train composed of four coaches for passengers, and one power coach.

“The capacity will be equivalent of one commuter train of the PNR,” Montejo said, referring to the Philippine National Railways.

“We expect to finish the assembly by April. By May, we’ll be conducting tests already,” he said.

The train would run at a speed of 60 to 80 kilometers per hour, DOST said.

“Next, we want it to run faster, to as high as 180 kilometers per hour, a high-speed train,” Montejo said.

The MIRDC, headed by engineer Robert Dizon, is said to be working with Sung Shin RST and a Filipino truck body assembler, Fil-Asia Automotive and Industries Corp., on the EHT.

The latter is the same firm that was commissioned by the MIRDC to assemble the rolling stocks, or the train, for the DOST’s Automated Guideway Transit project that is still in testing stage at the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.

This may result in future trainsets for the PNR, MRT and LRT being built and maintained locally, resulting in major savings from faster and efficient maintenance and increasing the quality of the trains in general.

(sourced from The Philippine Star, Philippine Railways Facebook page and DOST)