After MRT, overloaded PNR train stalls in Manila

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A day after a train of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 conked out anew, operations of the Metro South Commuter train service of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) were disrupted after one of the trains stalled near the San Andres station in Manila.

Paul de Quiros, PNR spokesman, said the overloaded train stalled as it approached San Andres station  at 6:50 a.m. due to low air pressure.

He said the stalled train resumed operations at 7:30 a.m. after more air was pumped into the train.

More than 800 passengers were stranded and another train was sent to transport them.

De Quiros said the Metro South Commuter train service, which runs from Tutuban to Cabuyao in Laguna, ferries between 60,000 and 70,000 passengers per day.

He said the PNR has increased the number of trips to around 74 per day from only 50 trips per day two years ago to accommodate the growing number of passengers.

“The train system is still the fastest form of transportation, considering the traffic situation,” he added.

The South line extension service includes two trips daily on the Tutuban-Cabuyao-Tutuban route, which leaves Sta. Rosa at 4:36 a.m. and the Tutuban station at 7:07 p.m.

The service stretches 53 kilometers and passes through 25 stations. Passengers are charged between P10 and P40.

Safety assessment

PNR has earmarked P40 million for a consultant to inspect and assess the safety of the railway track and bridge network of the 478-kilometer Bicol Express train service.

The project involves inspection and safety assessment of the tracks from Tutuban in Manila to Legaspi City in Albay and the individual condition of 431 bridges.

PNR is looking at reviving the Bicol Express train service next month, or almost two years after operations were suspended when one of the trains derailed in Sariaya, Quezon.

PNR general manager Joseph Allan Dilay said PNR would continue with the rehabilitation of its non-operational railway line to the north, as well as the development of new railway routes within and outside Luzon.

The passage of Republic Act 10638 on June 16 extended the corporate life of PNR by another 50 years to June 20, 2064.

MRT-3 mishaps probe

The congressional inquiry into incidents involving MRT-3 will start next week, with some lawmakers wanting to look into the criminal liability of the maintenance provider of the trains.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said several resolutions have been filed directing his panel to conduct the investigation.

“I’m duty bound to act on these resolutions. We cannot wait for another accident to happen. What happens if something worse happens?” he told reporters.

He said the House of Representatives should also take steps to help the government acquire new coaches and improve the maintenance of the old ones.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who is also calling for the probe, said the root cause of the accidents and stoppages at the MRT should be determined.

He also noted that those involved in the MRT operations keep pointing fingers at each other.

Meanwhile, the DOTC and the owner of the EDSA-bound light rail line MRT, the MRT Corp. agreed yesterday to ask the help of the operator of Hong Kong’s mass transit railway to perform a systems audit on the 15-year-old MRT.

Hernando Cabrera, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) corporate secretary and spokesman for MRT-LRT matters, said the agreement was reached in a meeting between the DOTC, MRTC and LRTA officials following persistent rail service disruptions at the EDSA-bound rail line last week.

Hong Kong’s MTR is operated by the MTR Corp. Limited. The MTR of Hong Kong opened in 1979. The system is said to span 218.2 km of rail with 152 stations, including 84 railway stations and 68 light rail stops and is working efficiently.

The group from Hong Kong will arrive on Monday. – With Jess Diaz, Paolo Romero, Aie Balagtas See, Rainier Allan Ronda













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