COA: Unused MRT-3 Dalian Trains Deprive the Public of Comfortable Transportation

COA: 48 Dalian trains for MRT3 remain unused


The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) is an essential mode of transportation for thousands of commuters in Metro Manila, Philippines. As one of the busiest and most congested transit systems in the country, providing a comfortable and efficient ride is crucial. However, the acquisition of the Dalian trains for MRT-3 has been marred by controversy, as these trains remain largely unused, depriving the public of a potentially improved transportation experience. In this article, we delve into the issue of the unused MRT-3 Dalian trains and its impact on commuters.

The Controversy Surrounding the Dalian Trains

In 2013, the Philippine government signed a contract with Chinese company Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. to supply 48 brand-new trains for MRT-3. The delivery was expected to address the worsening congestion and frequent breakdowns experienced by commuters. However, the arrival and integration of the Dalian trains into the MRT-3 system faced multiple challenges, leading to delays and public outcry.

Compatibility and Safety Concerns

One of the major issues that surfaced was the compatibility of the Dalian trains with the existing MRT-3 infrastructure. The trains’ dimensions did not align perfectly with the platform, leading to safety concerns and difficulties in boarding and alighting. Safety should always be a top priority in public transportation, and these concerns led to reluctance in deploying the new trains.

Testing and Integration Delays

Due to compatibility and safety concerns, the Dalian trains underwent extensive testing and modifications before being allowed to carry passengers. However, this testing phase stretched for an extended period, leaving the trains largely idle for years. This delay added to the frustration of commuters who were hoping for an improved MRT-3 experience.

Cost Implications

The unused Dalian trains represent a significant financial investment by the government. The purchase of these trains amounted to billions of pesos, and the delay in their utilization has raised questions about the cost-effectiveness of the acquisition. Taxpayer money is at stake, and the public rightfully expects transparency and accountability regarding the handling of public funds.

Impact on Commuters

The primary victims of this controversy are the daily commuters who rely on MRT-3 for their transportation needs. The overcrowded and unreliable service continues to be a source of inconvenience and discomfort for many. The potential relief offered by the new trains remains unrealized, further exacerbating the challenges faced by the public in their daily commute.

The Need for a Resolution

To address this issue, various stakeholders, including the government and transportation authorities, need to work together to find a viable resolution. Proper assessment and planning are necessary to ensure the safe integration of the Dalian trains into the MRT-3 system. Additionally, transparency in decision-making and accountability in handling public funds are vital to regain public trust.


The unused MRT-3 Dalian trains symbolize a missed opportunity to improve the commuting experience for thousands of Filipinos in Metro Manila. While the acquisition was intended to alleviate congestion and provide a comfortable ride, various challenges have left these new trains largely dormant. The government and related authorities must prioritize the resolution of these issues to optimize the MRT-3 service and fulfill the public’s expectations for a more efficient and comfortable transportation system.


  1. Q: Are the Dalian trains entirely unused, or are some in operation? A: As of the time of writing, only a few of the Dalian trains have been put into operation, while the majority remain unused due to compatibility and safety concerns.
  2. Q: How can the government resolve the compatibility issues with the Dalian trains? A: The government needs to invest in necessary modifications and adjustments to ensure the Dalian trains align safely and efficiently with the MRT-3 platform.
  3. Q: Can the unused Dalian trains be sold or used in other transportation systems? A: While selling the trains or using them elsewhere is possible, it is essential to find a solution that benefits MRT-3 commuters and maximizes the initial investment.
  4. Q: Are there alternative solutions to alleviate MRT-3 congestion in the meantime? A: Implementing better maintenance practices, optimizing train schedules, and exploring additional public transportation options can provide interim relief while resolving the Dalian train issue.
  5. Q: What measures can the government take to regain public trust in the MRT-3 system? A: The government should prioritize transparency, open communication with the public, and efficient resolution of transportation issues to regain public trust and confidence.