By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC), private operator and maintenance provider of Light Rail Transit (LRT) line, yesterday reported it has spent P8.7 billion to date, upgrading the system and facilities of the country’s first and oldest railway since taking over in September, 2015.
From 478 trips per day in 2016, LRMC has reached 520 trips daily, serving around 500,000 passengers every day. Headway was further reduced from six minutes to four minutes in 2016 to 3.5 minutes in 2018.
In January 2018, it completed the replacement of old rails that have been exposed to rail contact fatigue such as shelling and corrugations.
The 20-kilometer rail replacement from Roosevelt to Baclaran stations aims to extend rail and track component life and reduce wear on rolling stock to help increase train speeds.
“With the new rails, commuters will enjoy a smoother ride and that means improving the quality of their riding experience,” said LRMC President and CEO Juan Alfonso.
With 35 years of daily operations, multiple sections of LRT-1 have suffered from cracked concrete and exposed or damaged rebars. River bridges have deteriorated.
Today, the existing 20-kilometer LRT-1 line runs with stronger parapets putting to rest the questions on the structural integrity of the three-decade old public utility.
Concrete repairs, sandblasting to remove corrosion, repainting, installation of new collision dampers to protect bridges from ship collision were done to complete the structural defect restoration works.
Noise pollution, a common complaint by establishments and neighboring communities near LRT-1 has been addressed with newly installed noise barriers running along the existing line.
A comparison of noise monitoring activities conducted in February 2017 and September 2019 between Tayuman and Blumentritt stations reported significant decrease to 13% of noise levels after the installation of new parapets and noise barriers–from 79.20 dB to 66.98 dB on street level and from 84.78 dB to 71 dB in viaduct during daytime.