The country’s first locally developed train — the Automated Guideway Transit or AGT — made its test run on Friday, Dec. 14, with top officials from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and University of the Philippines (UP) boarding the brand new coach to personally check out the ride.
Photo shows DOST Secretary Mario Montejo (left), UP President Alfredo Pascual (2nd from left), DOST Assistant Secretary for Strategic Plans and Programs Robert Dizon (center), along with other UP officials, during the AGT test run
Unlike the MRT and the LRT, the AGT has no cables suspended above it and along its track as its DC-electrical system is built along the guideway itself. This gives it a “cleaner look”, according to its designers.
The train’s 465-meter guideway or test track stretches from the College of Fine Arts to CP Garcia Avenue, where it makes a 25-meter radius curve to the direction of the University Avenue where the tracks stop.
The guideway is made of high-quality concrete and stands at an average height of 6.1 meters.
The testing stage is scheduled to finish by June next year, while results and recommendations that will come out from the test will become basis for designing a regular-sized version of the train.
The next AGT would accommodate up to 120 passengers, which is twice the UP Diliman version’s current capacity.
The trial run was conducted to establish the train’s speed and capacity, as well as to polish its mechanisms, controls, power, and stress systems, and fine-tune its troubleshooting procedures.
The 465-meter concrete guideway built inside the UP Diliman Campus serves as a test site to fine-tune the train’s speed, power, controls, and stress systems. The testing phase will finish by June 2013 and any result will be used to construct a higher-capacity elevated carrier
According to DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, another objective of the project is to “train local engineers to operate their own designed transport system and enhance their competency in the area of transportation technology.”
He said the homegrown train costs just about one fifth of the amount of a similar foreign train. “We want to locally fabricate the components to make the vehicle cost-effective and sustainable,” Montejo said.
UP President Alfredo Pascual said the AGT can help reduce pollution inside the campus and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The AGT can also serve as a laboratory site for the university’s engineering students, according to UP Diliman Chancellor Caesar Saloma.
The automated guideway transit runs on two parallel bars instead of one and thus cannot be identified as a monorail
Meanwhile, the designers of the AGT also clarified that the train is “not a monorail.”
“The AGT was initially designed as a monorail but subsequent modifications from last year’s prototype no longer fits the AGT into that category,” explained Elljay P. Mutuc, one of the train’s designers.
He said AGT rolls on two rails instead of one, thus it cannot be called a monorail. Moreover, the monorail has narrower guideways with respect to the coaches’ widths, but the AGT moves along two parallel bars whose distance across almost equals that of the coaches, he said.
One of DOST’s High-Impact Technology Solutions or HITS, the AGT is being developed through DOST’s consultations with the UP National Center for Transportation Studies, College of Engineering, and the National Institute of Geological Sciences.
The project’s lead implementing agency in DOST— the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) — constructed the train’s main mechanical frameworks or “rolling stocks”, and subcontracted local companies Miescor Builders and Fil-Asia Automotive to construct the guideway and the coaches, respectively, based on the design team’s specifications.
The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) funded the project under the MakiBayan Program, short for “Makina at Teknolohiya para sa Bayan”, of MIRDC.
For its part, UP has expressed plans to conduct a study on the marketability of the AGT, and pledged full commitment to provide the test site the needed security.