Massive fire damages keep LRT-2 train operations suspended on Oct. 4

Marje Pelayo   •   October 4, 2019   •   1173

MANILA, Philippines – The management of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 2 announced on Thursday (October 3) that train services will not resume on October 4 after two of the rectifiers powering its mainline exploded.

The explosion, which happened around 11:00 a.m. Thursday, led to the total shutdown of the entire train system.

“In accordance with the latest report from LRTA Engineering & Safety units, LRT-2 will no longer resume to full or partial line operations tomorrow, 4 Oct 2019,” the LRT-2 said in a statement.

“Several technical and safety concerns prevent resumption of operations. Passengers are advised to find alternative modes of transportation,” the advisory added.

According to LRT Authority (LRTA) spokesperson Hernan Cabrera, the massive fire caught rectifier number 5 between the Katipunan and Anonas stations as well as rectifier number 6 at the Santolan depot.

Likewise, the fire damaged the train’s signaling system, radio communications systems, and the automatic fare collection system among others.

Seven trains were stranded between Recto and Anonas stations after the fire due to a total power outage at the Santolan depot.

Because of this, Cabrera said, the trains lost access to the depot area therefore they cannot recommend even partial operations for the entire train line.

According to the latest update from LRTA, the train’s Katipunan Track 2 area remains impassable and there is still communication loss across the entire line.

Likewise, power line from Cubao to Santolan and depot remains down.

Meanwhile, inspection of substation and electrical equipment at rectifier substation 4 is ongoing.

There is no official announcement yet as to when the operations of LRT-2 will resume.

LRT Line 2, which runs from Santolan station in Marikina City to Recto Station in Manila serves around 200,000 commuters daily.

LRT-2 to shorten operating hours starting April 17

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) will temporarily shorten its operating hours due to the increasing number of LRT-2 frontline personnel infected with COVID-19, the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) said.

In an advisory, the LRTA said the shortened operating hours of 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. will be implemented starting Saturday, April 17 until April 30.

“Consistent with the guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), our Management opted to shorten the operating hours so as to help us prevent the further spread of the virus and avoid the possible paralysis of our operations in case the numbers continue to surge,” LRTA Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said.

Out of 1,944 total LRT-2 employees, 1,906 have been tested from April 7 to 8. Of this number, 273 individuals were found positive for coronavirus.

The LRTA said that only 56% are currently functioning among ticket management and sales collection personnel, and about 73% among train drivers. Some 68% of the station personnel are left available with the rest under quarantine due to COVID-19 infection or exposure.

“We have already isolated all the infected/exposed personnel, have implemented work-from-home arrangements for depot workers, revisited train ventilation and air-flow protocols, and ensured that all minimum public health standards are complied with at all times to avoid the further spread of the virus,” Berroya said.

He said that the reduced operating hours will allow the LRTA to still effectively manage LRT-2 operations considering the manpower deficit and allow COVID-19 afflicted employees to recover and complete their mandatory quarantine/isolation period.

The LRTA also noted that under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) being implemented until April 30, LRT-2 is expected to experience a significant decline in ridership.

“At this time of public health emergency, the welfare and safety of both our passengers and personnel must always come first,” Berroya said.

The LRTA appealed to passengers to strictly observe all the COVID-19 protocols, stressing that “the road to beat the virus is a two-way street.”

Passengers are also reminded to always wear face masks and face shields, to be self-aware and socially disciplined, and to adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.

Meanwhile, buses are plying Route 9 (Antipolo to Cubao) and Route 10 (Cubao to Doroteo Jose) to augment LRT-2 operations and to help accommodate affected passengers.

The normal LRT-2 operating schedule will resume on May 1, 2021, the LRTA said

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LRT-2 eyes deployment of additional trains by April

Robie de Guzman   •   March 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) is looking to have more operational trains at the Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) by next month or just in time for the opening of the LRT-2 East Extension project.

“We are fast-tracking the restoration of the three trainsets to augment the existing operational trains of Line 2 and to reduce the current 14-minute headway to nine minutes,” LRTA Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The Department of Transportation earlier announced that two additional stations of the LRT-2 East Extension project – Marikina Station (in front of the Sta. Lucia mall and Robinsons) and the Antipolo Station (in front of SM Masinag) – will start operations on April 27.

The two new stations will serve commuters from Recto, Manila going to Masinag, Antipolo, and back, with travel time expected to be cut down to just around 40 minutes.

Last March 5, Berroya conducted a random inspection of the ongoing installation of train propulsion system and train monitoring system on three trainsets at LRT-2 Depot Maintenance Area.

LRT-2 maintenance provider AMSCO JV (joint venture of APT Global Inc., MultiScan Corporation, and Opus Land, Inc.) and manufacturer Woojin Industrial Systems Co, Ltd started the installation of the said systems last March 3, 2021.

Berroya said that fielding more trains will result in the accommodation of more than 20,000 passengers daily in addition to the current average daily ridership of 40,000.

“As train occupancy of passengers is regulated during this time of pandemic with passenger safety as our top priority, deploying additional trains will certainly help us cut the travel time of our commuters,” he said

“With the commitment provided by our maintenance provider, manufacturer, and the LRTA, we expect to have eight trainsets and ten trainsets by 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter of 2021, respectively,” he added.

Berroya also stressed that other down trains are set to be rehabilitated and new trainsets are planned to be procured for the LRT-2 East and West Extension Projects.

Three closed LRT-2 stations reopen January 22

Marje Pelayo   •   January 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines —Train services from Santolan terminal of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) stations in Pasig to Recto terminal station in Manila are back on track beginning Friday (January 22).

LRTA Administrator Gen. Reynaldo Berroya said that all appropriate tests have been conducted to confirm the stability and reliability of the provisional power supply for the reopening of Santolan, Anonas and Katipunan stations to passengers.

“We will resume whole line operations with limitations and restrictions while the full restoration,” he said.

“Repairs of the fire-damaged Rectifier Substation (RSS) Nos. 5 and 6, signaling and telecommunications are simultaneously being undertaken,” he added.

He appealed to passengers to allot additional hours in their travel as the headway – or the time before another train arrives at the station – will take an average of 14 minutes since a speed restriction of 30 kilometers per hour (kph) needs to be implemented as the train approaches Anonas station.

With the speed restriction, travel time from Santolan to Recto stations will take more than 35 minutes compared to 28 minutes when the system is in normal and good condition.

The LRTA assured to fast-track restoration and repair works so that LRT-2 can resume normal operations.

Train services in the said three stations were halted after a power rectifier caught fire in October 2019. While being repaired, another fire broke out at the power supply room in Santolan station in October 2020 which further delayed the repair process.

The LRTA also reminds passengers to adhere to all the safety protocols being implemented inside stations and trains to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This means the mandatory wearing of face mask and face shield, thermal scanning, regulated entry of passengers, physical distancing and the “No Talking policy” is strictly being implemented inside the stations and trains.

Passengers are reminded as well that LRT-2 continuously implements cashless transactions at all stations to reduce the further spread of COVID-19.

Also, Berroya hopes to restore down trains soon and add more to the fleet to accommodate more passengers.

“We are hoping to deploy more trains on LRT-2’s fleet so we are expediting the restoration of down trains. Fielding more trains will reduce the current headway and add more passengers to our current 32,000 average daily ridership as affected by the pandemic restrictions,” he added.


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