San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said its infrastructure arm has already begun construction on a 20-hectare property in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan that will serve as the main stabling area or train depot of its upcoming Mass Rail Transit 7 (MRT-7) project.
The depot, a key element of SMC Infrastructure’s first mass rail project, will have enough capacity to accommodate up to 150 train cars in all. This exceeds the 36 trainsets or 108 rail cars currently set for the project, to ensure enough room for future expansion, should the need for more trains based on commuter demand, arise.
MRT-7’s trains are all made in South Korea by top rail systems provider, Hyundai Rotem, which is expected to fully deliver the full complement of 108 MRT-7 train cars to the country by end of this year.
“This is yet another important milestone reached by our MRT-7 team, who have been diligently working for several years now, even throughout this pandemic, not only to build the physical structure of the rail system, but also to overcome the many right-of-way and property-related challenges faced by a project of this scale,” said SMC president and CEO Ramon S. Ang.
“With the necessary land area for the MRT-7 depot finally complete, we can’t waste any more time; our people are fully committed to delivering this vital project to the public as soon as possible,” he added.
Ang highlighted the significant benefits of the MRT-7 to the public, emphasizing that mass rail and mass transport projects are key to decongesting Metro Manila, easing traffic on public roads, lowering harmful emissions that result from hours of stand-still traffic, boosting productivity, and decentralizing economic growth to benefit also our provinces.
With the start of construction on the depot–which will also house essential facilities dedicated to the maintenance and operations of the trains—Ang said the company estimates it will be ready to support essential operations by end of 2023.
Currently, And said that project completion for the MRT-7 is estimated at over 60%, with most of the construction work focused on the first 12 of its total 14 stations.
Construction on the last two stations, as well as the train depot, had been delayed due to right-of-way issues related to their original sites.
In recent years, government was able to identify—and deliver—an alternative site for the depot. However, this meant that stations 13 and 14 also had to be realigned along Quirino Highway towards San Jose del Monte, giving rise to further ROW issues that the government and the company are working to resolve at present.