>News Update 2 LRT trains collide in Philippine capital

>Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) – Two trains of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 collided Friday morning near SM North Edsa and broke a portion of the yellow emergency walkway that fell on a taxi cruising below along Edsa in Quezon City, Manila.

Lawyer Hernando Cabrera, LRT Authority (LRTA) spokesperson, said no one was hurt in the incident but it disrupted operations from Balintawak to Roosevelt stations.

Cabrera said this stretch of the LRT 1 route would likely stay closed until Saturday. Although the tracks could be cleared within the day, the LRTA would still have to conduct tests to ensure the safety of the system.

He said at least 16,000 daily train riders will be affected in the temporary suspension.

Both trains were not carrying any passengers when the accident took place at around 10 a.m., Cabrera said.

The trains, which sustained just minimum damage, were bumped off their tracks.

Reynaldo Lacsina, the driver of the taxi hit by the fiberglass peeled off from the track walk, said he was shocked when a heavy thing fell on the front portion of his taxi while he was about to approach the SM North Edsa area.

Lacsina said he and his passenger were not hurt.

“I’m just thankful that I and my passenger did not get hurt in the incident,” Lacsina said.

Both trains were at the LRT line 1’s Roosevelt station, which is the line’s northernmost end. One of the trains had just moved to the southbound side of the track shortly after dropping off its passengers at the platform.

But because the diagonal “switching” track had jammed and was still engaged, the train made the switch again on its way back, hitting the other train.

“Both trains were slightly derailed. We’re still trying to assess the extent of the damage,” Cabrera said.

The Roosevelt station is one of three stations added to the LRT line 1 as part of its north extension or “closing the loop” project. This aims to connect the LRT line 1 and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. The two lines are the most used train systems in the country.

They both carry about half a million passengers each daily.

The other two new stations are Balintawak and the North Avenue station, which is yet to be completed.

Cabrera said the LRTA would conduct an investigation to determine if the contractor that built the tracks and signaling systems of the Roosevelt station can be held liable for damages.

The LRT extension’s structures were built by a joint venture between local construction giants DMCI and Lopez-led First Balfour. But the electromechanical equipment, which includes the tracks and signaling systems, was built by a unit of Belgian firm Daxi SA.

“We are going to investigate to find the real cause of this incident. We will determine if anyone is liable,” Cabrera said.

“If we find that there is bad faith, the contractor will be blacklisted. But it’s still too early to tell,” he said.

He added that technical people are already investigating the incident and are looking into three possible reasons why the accident happened.

“It could be human error, systems error or the automatic brakes did not work,” the spokesperson said.

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