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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

DOTr to work with DOST on second hybrid electric train

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will work with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to develop a second, improved prototype of the latter’s Hybrid Electric Train (HET) for use on the Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long Haul, or Bicol Line.

Transportation Undersecretary for railways Jeremy Regino, in a keynote speech at the Metals & Engineering Week Industry Forum organized by the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC), said Japanese consultants for the DOTr approved adopting the HET trains.

Regino said the DOTr and PNR were considering the HET for the PNR South Haul, running from Calamba, Laguna, to Matnog, Sorsogon.

Discussions between DOTr, DOST and Japanese consultants led to a consensus on developing an improved version despite the HET prototype passing evaluation and official test runs.

“It was effective, efficient, safe – a good train we could all be proud of. Proudly made by Filipinos,” Regino said in his speech.

“We have decided, along with Secretary Renato Solidum of DOST, MIRDC, PNR engineers, and our Japanese consultants, that the hybrid trains of MIRDC and DOST are indeed efficient, effective and a good mode of transportation for us,” Regino said.

“We discussed with MIRDC, DOST, Secretary Solidum, and Secretary Jaime Bautista the possibility of improvements to create a second prototype that would be even safer for riders, personnel, and those operating the trains,” he said.

“We have decided to join forces once again to build a second prototype train that we can all be proud of,” Regino said.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista =showcased the first HET prototype at the PNR Calamba Station to local media on June 13, 2024.

The DOTr plans to divide the PNR line into two sections: the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), running from Calamba, Laguna to Clark, Pampanga and the PNR South Haul, from Calamba to Matnog, Sorsogon.

Regino said the DOTr saw the HET technology developed by DOST-MIRDC as a potential solution to the country’s mass transportation problems and a way to achieve self-reliance.

“A successful hybrid train has implications,” Regino said. “If we can do a hybrid train, we can easily modernize local jeepneys. If we can do a hybrid train, we can easily manufacture hybrid, environmentally friendly buses. And who is at the forefront here, research and development – MIRDC and DOST.

“Research and development is the key to self-reliance. We can never be self-reliant without you. And you are the unsung heroes, not only of our country,” Regino said.

The DOTr suspended PNR rail operations in March to begin construction and development activities for the NSCR. The elevated NSCR will replace the old PNR at-grade system, Regino said.

The DOST-MIRDC-designed HET trains first went on official test runs in 2019. The DOST offered rides to the public during demonstration runs as early as July 2018. The train officially became part of the PNR fleet in June 2019, serving the Calamba-Alabang route.

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