Monday, August 18, 2014

MRT3 Derailment at Taft Station: Mechanical Failure or Human Error

Accidents do happen, as the saying goes. But we can minimize if not totally avoid one to occur if things are set in order. So is the case of a Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) train which went past its barrier at the terminal's Taft station Wednesday, August 13, injuring several passengers and causing a post to fall over a car.

photo link

Let's look back to what really transpired that day. Last Wednesday August 16, between 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. a runaway train swayed down the southbound tracks to the Taft Avenue end station. Leap off the tracks, crashed into a post, and ended up damaging three cars along busy E. delos Santos Avenue (EDSA). In all 32 train passengers were injured and about a dozen innocent pedestrians were hospitalized for fractures and other serious injuries.

Initial report findings revealed that the train had just left the penultimate Magallanes station carrying around 500 passengers when the train suddenly came to a halt or “lost motor traction.” The train stopped dead on its tracks, due supposedly to “under-voltage,” or power drop, at the catenary, the stick that links the electricity-powered LRVs to the cable above. Note: The Magallanes station is elevated six times higher than the final Taft stop.

Attempts to restart the train failed. Half an hour later, the next train arrived. Following standard emergency procedure, it unloaded its passengers at Magallanes, then proceeded to the rescue 50 meters away. After coupling with the stalled train, the second train began to push it down the tracks towards road-level Taft. But the coupling snapped, accelerating the stalled train by gravity to more than 20 kph. It hit the bumper stopper which unfortunately gave way and did not stop the runaway train. It and the electric post’s debris smashed three cars and an MRT-3 security motorcycle.

Investigations are still ongoing about the incident. Based on published reports, the accident might have been caused by two factors: Mechanical failure or Human error. The way I looked at it, the MRT train drivers did their job well. Why, they just followed instructions given to them by their superior at MRT control center. The coupling gave way! Why, poor maintenance of the MRT3. A simple case of outdated and sub-standard Train System.

Now comes demigod Transport Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya annoying statement. He came into conclusion that two train drivers did it. C'mon, where did you get the facts Mr. Secretary. In his controversial comment "Riding is a personal decision. I won't go of my way to convince people to ride the MRT." Sir, is that the way to promote commuters to take MRT3 and in general our railway system? If so, you are a liability to Aquino government.

Mr. Abaya, if you are into temporary amnesia; let me refresh your memory so you can see the true picture of our train system. The MRT3 was built on budget and on schedule. It was fully accepted by foreign experts and the Philippine government in 2000. For 12 years, under Sumimoto maintenance, there have been no major accidents recorded. The train system (software and hardware alike) are well-maintained by Sumimoto and Mitsubishi, where the Japanese firm continually upgraded maintenance procedures. How come, All major accidents happened only in the last 2 years under the PHTRAMS-Vitangcol-linked maintenance groups.

Quoting Metro Rail Transit Holdings (MRTH) spokesperson David Narvasa, MRTH which owns Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), which runs the MRT-3 line, said the maintenance of the system has been another company’s responsibility since November 2012. stated “Despite repeated requests to [the transportation department] since the early part of 2013, MRTC and its representatives have not been allowed to conduct a thorough technical inspection of the MRT-3 Depot and the entire train system to determine its true condition.” Why oh why have you not acted on their requests. If only you have done so, then the accident last August 13 could have been avoided.

No comments:

Post a Comment