DOST inaugurates hybrid electric train, unveils mass transport solutions

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officially introduced its hybrid electric train (HET) to the public through an inaugural run on Wednesday morning, April 24, from the Alabang to Binan station of the Philippine National Railways (PNR).

At the Binan Station, train passengers witnessed a ceremonial ribbon cutting and toast for the trainset, led by DOST officials. The group travelled back to the Alabang Station.

The new trainset uses diesel and batteries for its power system. Unlike the LRT and the MRT which uses “catenary and pantograph” as a power source, the hybrid train system has a regenerative braking system that stores up energy to the battery bank.

A pantograph is an apparatus mounted on the roof of an electric train, tram, or electric bus to collect power through contact with an overhead catenary wire.

The new trainset’s chassis and coach are manufactured locally and features fully air-conditioned cabins, as well as wide automatic sliding doors.

Each coach of the hybrid train will have an estimated sitting capacity of 31 passengers although the normal loading capacity will be 169 passengers (6 persons per square meter) per coach. Thus, the whole trainset will have 676 passengers per trainset.

On the other hand, the MRT and the LRT have a normal loading capacity of 240 passengers per coach, while the PNR can accommodate 200 passengers per coach.

During the test run, DOST also unveiled new solutions to the country’s mass transport system during a media conference.

According to DOST secretary Fortunato de la Pena, “the problem of weak mass transport in the Philippines grow everyday as the number of passengers increase and the roads and current transport systems as we know it, remain at a halt. A solution for this problem has been in the works from one government administration to another, since the 1970s. Until now, however, we are still yet to figure out an efficient and cost-effective solution towards a more accessible and hassle-free road. We at DOST, want to be part of that solution.”

He said the DOST intends to address volume and behavior-based traffic congestion, overloading, road pollution, dependence on expensive foreign technology, insufficient mass transportation systems, limited capability to maintain existing systems, lack of local industry for mass transport, and the P3.5 billion economic loss per day due to traffic.

De la Pena shared that the automated gateway transit, the hybrid electric train in PNR, and the hybrid electric road train in Isabela are DOST’s mass transport projects that are now available to the public.

In addition to this, he highlighted new transport projects that the department has supported. One of these is the Local Traffic Simulator or LocalSim. It is a microscopic traffic simulation software that is designed to be used by road and traffic engineers as a decision support system for effective traffic management.

The Detection and Identification of Legitimate Public Utility Vehicles (DILAW) is a system made up of devices that easily determine colorum vehicles.

Lastly, the Contactless Apprehension of Traffic Violators on 24-hour Basis, All Vehicle Detection System or CATCH-ALL is a camera-based traffic management system for traffic violations detection.

The DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) has also supported startups that have products and services that are also mass transport solutions.

The Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprose (FAME) developed transponders for aircrafts, vessels, and vehicles for cost-effective monitoring and tracking. Rurok Industries is an innovative bike company that aims to deliver engineered, versatile bikes that contain highly efficient suspension systems to adapt to different terrains.

“Apart from producing new systems that would add to our current lineup of mass transport technologies, we also want to ensure that each solution we offer speaks of the quality we are committed to providing to the people. Through DOST’s mass transport solutions and intelligent transport systems, we are providing the public with fast, productive, and cost-effective options,” De la Pena said.

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