LRT1 operator hurt as train kept going despite stop signal
This time, it’s the LRT Line 1 that’s got a “runaway.’’
A Light Rail Transit (LRT) train rear-ended another in Caloocan City, injuring a train operator and disrupting operations for about six hours on Saturday.
Light Rail Transit Authority spokesperson Hernando Cabrera said it remained under investigation whether the incident was due to system failure or human error. But he disclosed that the elevated railway—the oldest of the three lines operating in the capital—suffered power fluctuations around 7 a.m.
Whenever such problems occur, all trains are supposed to come to a halt but one heading north kept going, Cabrera said. It then hit another train that had already stopped on the curved portion of the track near the Monumento station.
As part of protocol, Cabrera said, the computer-controlled system automatically sends a “red signal” to all the trains for them to stop whenever there are problems such as power fluctuations, Cabrera said.
There was no way a train could continue moving on a red signal unless there was a technical glitch or the signaling system was turned off by the operator of the moving train, Cabrera said.
“We are still investigating if the operator decided to proceed while on red signal and if he asked permission [to do so] from the control center,” he said. “Was the operator unable to see the train or was there a problem with the brake?”
The operator of the moving train sustained minor injuries on his right arm due to the collision. Cabrera declined to name the operator pending a full investigation.
The impact damaged the windshield and dashboard of the moving train, while the other train sustained only “superficial” damage but will still undergo safety inspection, Cabrera said.
No passenger was hurt on either train. “Fortunately, it’s a Saturday and it happened around 7 a.m. so there were only a few passengers onboard,” Cabrera said. Full train operations resumed at 1:29 p.m.
Government critics on Saturday said the incident was just the “latest sign of the deterioration” of LRT1 and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) on Edsa.
In a joint statement, Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate noted that the problem-plagued MRT, for example, was again reduced to seven working trains on Friday, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.
Zarate noted that the P11-billion supplemental budget earlier appropriated for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the MRT and LRT appeared to be going to waste as a result of the “incompetence” of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
“Like the MRT derailment last year, the LRT accident is deplorable for the simple fact that it could have been prevented with the proper maintenance of the trains. The DOTC should not wait for a fatal accident before acting,” Colmenares added.
On Aug. 14, 2014, a stalled MRT train that was being pushed by another train ended up overshooting the railway and skidding into the open street at the Taft Avenue station in Pasay City. The derailment left at least 38 people injured. With a report from DJ Yap