Considering the near-impossibility of negotiating traffic in Metro Manila, it is very fortunate that there is an extensive network of mass public transportation to bypass the snail’s pace that local road vehicles often have the misfortune to be in. But the setup is not perfect in itself, with the urban rail systems of the LRT and MRT having proven to be prone to some malfunction or other at the worst possible times. Case in point, this week the Light Rail Transit 2 sparked in its power supply transformers, resulting in a fire that cancelled trips in the line. As of week’s end, the suspension remains.
CNN Philippines has it that the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) has not yet restored service to LRT line 2, according to the agency spokesperson Hernando Cabrera on Friday, October 4. That makes it around two days of no trains running on LRT-2 after its power transformers caught fire and caused damage on the track Thursday, October 3. For the moment, LRTA must examine all components of the rail system that make have been affected by the electrical blaze, namely the power supply itself, the system lines and signaling lights.
According to Cabrera, the agency has not yet begun repairing any damage to LRT-2, as in the interest of restoring even partial operation to the line by Friday, they only underwent preliminary examination and emergency tests through Thursday evening. Only the availability of power and safety factors has kept the LRTA from lifting the suspension of service on the line, and from the look of things the restoration might take an indefinite period of time. Of particular trouble are the culprit power supply transformers from the LRT-2 stations at Katipunan and Anonas as well as the power depot in Santolan.
That of course spells trouble for Metro Manila commuters who use Light Rail Transit line 2 to get to and from school or work. Hernando Cabrera notes that the LRTA is coordinating with the Metro Manila Development Authority to procure alternative means of public transport for affected rail passengers while trips along LRT-2 are stalled. They have also made overtures to locally operating bus companies, the better to meet the immediate needs of almost all the estimate 200,000 plus regular commuters on Light Rail Transit line 2. Buses that have been reserved for stranded passengers have begun stationing themselves on Santolan Bridge, with a drop-off point at the Cubao area.
Image from The Manila Times