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2 LRT trains collide due to power fluctuation

A power fluctuation caused a minor collision between two trains of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 at the Monumento station yesterday.  Joven Cagande

MANILA, Philippines - A train of the Light Rail Transit line1 (LRT1) rear ended another train at the Monumento station yesterday morning following a power fluctuation.

Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) spokesman Hernando Cabrera said the accident occurred around 7 a.m. where one of the train operators hit his head on the dashboard and injured his right arm.

“No injuries except for the train operator who sustained minor cut on his right arm,” he said.

Cabrera said power fluctuation at the station likely caused the collision of the two trains.

Cabrera said the system’s uninterruptible power supply (UPS) was not able to send command to all signal lights to turn red and stop all trains.

This prompted the LRTA to downgrade operations of the mass transit system only between Baclaran and Monumento.

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Operations between Monumento and Roosevelt stations were suspended as technical personnel worked on the two trains involved in the accident.

Cabrera said the trains involved in the incident were mobilized at around noon, allowing LRTA personnel to clear out the area.

Cabrera said the LRTA conducted safety inspections before full line operations resumed at 1:29 p.m.

He added an investigation would be conducted on the train operator that figured in the accident.

Cabrera said the train operator would be relieved if there are findings of human error on his part.

He said that the operator will be made to answer why he moved forward even under the red light signal by the automatic signaling system of the trains.

There was the possibility that the train operator could have switched off his signaling system or if he asked permission from the control system to turn it off, he did not notice the stalled train when he moved forward.

Under the LRT’s protocol, operators are not allowed to switch off their systems unless they first inform the control center, he said.

“There are four questions that we wanted to know on the human error aspect while on the technical aspect, we will determine if there was a problem with our signaling system,” Cabrera said, citing the Department of Transportation and Communications’ fact-finding committee will determine whether the collision was due to human error or system failure.

“What the system is doing – it is automatic because it is computerized – all the signals became red after it detected an abnormality. So what happened in that area (Monumento) where there was a curve – from Monumento going to Balintawak – there was already a red signal and a train that was on full stop – going to Balintawak – was bumped by a train coming from Fifth Avenue station,” he said.

Cabrera, however, clarified the train was not traveling very fast when it bumped into the rear of the other train.

He said an official of the DOTC had inspected the damaged trains.

Cabrera added the affected passengers would be less than 15,000 as the accident happened on a weekend and was nearly at the end of the train line.

When asked why there was power fluctuation, Cabrera replied: “It is one of the things we are looking into.”

“No one was injured except the operator of the train that bumped into another train,” he stressed. He said that the operator suffered minor injuries when his head hit the train’s dashboard.

The train that was hit sustained cracks on the windshield and “superficial damage” on its body while the windshield of the other train was deformed and the dashboard instrumentation panel pushed inward.

Cabrera, however, clarified the train that was bumped can still be used for operation, but it has still to be inspected carefully by the fact-finding team. – With Robertzon Ramirez, Jess Diaz

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