ILOILO City – The revival of the Panay railway system has long been proposed. But what type of train would be used if the plan pushes through? It could be a commercial hybrid electric train, a locally developed technology by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
According to state-owned Panay Railways, Inc. (PRI) chief executive officer Atty. Averill Amor and PRI chief operating officer Cesar Capellan, the government is pushing potential contractors to use this technology once work on the railway begins.
The hybrid electric train is expected to be easier to repair and maintain.
It was developed to “utilize and maximize the capabilities of local industries in the fields of metals and engineering, enabling the country to generate its own technology to address its needs in the area of transportation,” read part of a briefer on the DOST-developed train.
The original route of the Panay railway system was 117 kilometers long, included 19 permanent and 10 flag stations and connected the then-towns of La Paz, Jaro, Pavia, Santa Barbara, New Lucena, Pototan, Dungle, Dueñas and Passi in Iloilo and Dumarao, Dao, Panitan, Cuartero, and Loctugan in Capiz.
It reached Roxas City and had a total of 46 bridges.
In Iloilo City, the trains ended at a passenger terminal along the wharf next to the Customs House and near where the current fast ferry terminal and the Iloilo City Hall.
Trains ran across what is now known as the Drilon Bridge from La Paz and down the bank of the Iloilo River to Muelle Loney in the Port of Iloilo.
In the 1980s a 12-kilometer spur was constructed from Dueñas to Calinog, Iloilo to serve a sugar refinery in Iloilo.
The Panay railway system ceased operations in 1983.
A prototype of the hybrid electric train was developed by the Metals Industry Research and Development Center of DOST. It has the following key features:
* diesel-electric power system (generator set and battery)
* regenerative braking system
* wide automatic sliding doors
* fully air-conditioned cabins
* reliable and high-speed interconnection control system through a CC-Link Open Network System
* additional safety features: dead man’s switch, speed control buttons on HMI and a hardwired emergency switch
The hybrid train is also projected to have an operational speed of around 60kph, a capacity of 220 passengers per coach and a gross weight of 20 tons per coach./PN