MANILA, Philippines – The cut overhead catenary cable that halted the operations of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) last September 6 was due to a mechanical failure that train preparation and daily maintenance failed to prevent.
A joint investigation into the September 6 incident conducted by MRT3 maintenance provider Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Department of Transportation (DOTr)-MRT3, and the chief engineering division revealed that a short circuit was caused by the train's electrical box.
Because the protection and control unit (PCU) of the train's power substation was also defective, it failed to cut off the 750-bolt line in time, causing the overhead catenary cable to be cut.
According to MRT3 Director for Operations Michael Capati, trains undergo daily train preparation and preventive maintenance before being deployed on the rails. The preventive maintenance program is done daily, weekly, and monthly.
However, the degradation of rails mean that preventive measures fall short in accounting for possible failures while the trains are running.
In this regard, Capati said that trains, along with rails, are overdue for full rehabilitation and general overhaul, which the DOTr-MRT3 is addressing through its comprehensive rehabilitation, which is set to be completed in July 2021.
Replacement of all PCUs is also included in the whole rehabilitation program of the MRT3.
To curb reoccurrences of similar incidents, Capati said that, aside from upgrading PCUs, they will also be doubling the number of their foot patrol technicians that check trains visually for defects. Further, they will also increase maintenance personnel with the support of Sumitomo.
The suspension of operations last September 6 affected 7,302 passengers. – Rappler.com
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.