MANILA, Philippines — The operator of Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) has entered into a P450 million agreement with engineering and industrial company Voith Digital Solutions Austria GmBH and Co KG to rehabilitate and upgrade the railway’s generation-2 trains.

In a statement, Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) president and chief executive officer Juan Alfonso said Voith would re-engineer 24 generation-2 light rail vehicles (LRVs) over the next two years from six train sets under the agreement.

Through the project, the generation-2 LRVs will undergo rehabilitation for the first time.

The government bought the generation-2 trains from Hyundai and Adtranz Sweden in 1999.

“The rehabilitation of the 24 LRVs will expand capacity which should result in faster travel time because of reduced train headway and queueing time,” Alfonso said.

“This is another step that will significantly improve our passengers’ daily commute,” he said.

LRT-1 has a fleet which includes generation-1 LRVs bought in 1984, generation-2 LRVs bought in 1999, and generation-3 LRVs bought in 2007.

Earlier, the LRMC has completed the P1 billion rehabilitation program on generation-1 LRVs.

Following the rehabilitation of the generation-1 trains, the LRT-1’s fleet increased to 109 LRVs from 77, as well as the number of trips to 554 from 498.

LRMC also reduced the interval between trains and queueing time.

Last month, the Department of Transportation signed the procurement of 120 new LRVs for the LRT-1.

The new trains are expected to be delivered in 2020.

LRMC, composed of Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) PTE Ltd., took over the operations and maintenance of the LRT-1 in September 2015 as it bagged the contract to operate, maintain and extend the train line to Cavite.

The consortium broke ground on the LRT-1 Cavite extension in May last year.

By Louella Desiderio