RELIEF has finally come for the senior citizens, persons with disabilities and pregnant women who ride the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, as the contractor for the rehabilitation of some of the escalators at several train system stations has finally finished the job.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya said the completion of the escalators’ repair was a “small step” for improvements down the line. The repair project is a month delayed from its original target completion date.

“Passengers can expect a more convenient commuting experience with the rehabilitated escalators now up and running. The restoration of these conveyance facilities is a small step toward long-term progress that will make a valuable difference in the lives of daily commuters,” Abaya said.

The P22.11-million project, which covers all 12 Schindler escalators, was awarded to Jardine Schindler Elevator Corp., that holds proprietary rights to rehabilitate this first batch of escalators, being the brand’s exclusive distributor.

The multimillion-peso project aims to provide some relief to commuters—especially senior citizens, persons with disabilities and pregnant women—by making the MRT’s escalators operational.

The only other batch of escalators to be rehabilitated are the 34 units manufactured by Mitsubishi.

This project is currently being bidded out, together with the separate project for the total replacement of MRT’s elevators, which became obsolete in 2013.

Rerailing of LRT 1

MEANWHILE, Light Rail Manila Corp. Engineering Director Rudy Chansuyco announced that the company will start the 29-kilometer track rerailing project for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 in April.

This is part of its ongoing rehabilitation efforts for the 32-year-old train line.

The rerailing will cover the northbound route from Baclaran to Fifth Avenue in Caloocan City. The project will complete the overall renewal of LRT 1’s tracks system. The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) is about to complete the first phase of the project, after carrying out the replacement of the 23-km southbound tracks last December in addition to the 8 km already replaced in previous years.

“Our target is to be done by the end of 2017 with new, modern tracks that will allow for smoother rides for our passengers. The rerailing will cover the systematic replacements of rails and other rail components to keep the LRT 1 line functioning at optimum quality and enable train speed to be increased from 40 km per hour to 60 km per hour,” Chansuyco said.

Apart from smoother rides, the rerailing is expected to minimize wear and tear for the rolling stock and increase the reliability of the whole train system. Both will result to the increased life span of LRT 1. The project will also benefit communities in close proximity to the stations, as the new set of tracks will significantly reduce the vibration and noise levels currently experienced.

Chansuyco added that the rerailing is just one of the programmed improvement projects LRT 1 will undergo. He said the company is also currently working on the rehabilitation of elevators and escalators, improvement of the stations and restoration of old trains. New light rail vehicles are coming soon to augment the existing fleet.

In addition, the Metro Pacific-Ayala joint venture is set to construct the 11.7-km extension from the present end-point at Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite. Eight new stations will be built along the route, with the goal of easing traffic conditions in the Parañaque-Las Piñas-Cavite corridor.

01 February 2016
By Lorenz S. Marasigan