By Daphne J. Magturo, Reporter

LRT-1 to start 29-km track re-railing project in April

Posted on February 01, 2016

THE AYALA and Metro Pacific groups will replace 29 kilometers (km) of tracks at the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) in April and will finish by end 2017, saying this will minimize damage to train parts and increase travel speed.

A wider car of the LRT-1 arrives at Gil Puyat Station. -- BW File Photo
“LRT-1 operator Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) will commence its 29-kilometer track re-railing project in April as part of its ongoing rehabilitation efforts for the 32-year old train line,” the consortium said in a statement over the weekend.

LRMC -- owned by Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp. (MPIC), and Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure’s Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd. -- bagged in September 2014 the P64.9-billion LRT-1 Cavite Extension public-private partnership (PPP) project. It took over the train’s operation and maintenance in Sept. 12 last year.

“Apart from smoother rides, the re-railing is expected to minimize wear and tear for the rolling stock and increase the reliability of the whole train system. Both will result in the increased life span of LRT-1,” the group said.

The new set of tracks will also “significantly reduce” vibration and noise levels experienced by communities living near train stations.

“Our target is to be done by the end of 2017 with new, modern tracks that will allow for smoother rides for our passengers,” LRMC Engineering Director Rudy O. Chansuyco said.

“The re-railing 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 kilometers per hour (kph) to 60 kph.”

The re-railing, which will cover the northbound route from Baclaran to 5th Avenue, will complete the total replacement of LRT-1’s tracks.

The Light Rail Transit Authority is about to complete the first phase of the project, which covers the replacement of the 23-km southbound tracks last December, on top of the 8 km already replaced in previous years.

“LRMC is also working on the rehabilitation of elevators and escalators, improvement of the stations, and restoration of old trains. New light rail vehicles (LRVs) are coming soon to augment the existing fleet,” Mr. Chansuyco said.

The government is procuring 120 new LRVs and these will arrive in two batches by 2017 and 2018.

Aside from operations and improvement works, LRMC’s PPP contract also includes the construction of the LRT-1’s 11.7-kilometer extension from the present end point at Baclaran to the Niog area in Bacoor, Cavite. Eight new stations will be built, and this is expected to decongest traffic in the Parañaque-Las Piñas-Cavite corridor.

LRT-1 serves more than 400,000 daily passengers in its current line from Baclaran in Pasay City to Roosevelt in Quezon City. The extension is expected to double its capacity to 800,000 daily passengers and benefit more than four million residents in the southern part of Metro Manila and Cavite.

The group will operate and maintain the train line for 32 years.

MPIC is one of the three main Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Philex Mining Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., maintains interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group.