MANILA – MRT Holdings Inc. (MRTH), the owner of the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT), said the rail system's broken rails should be replaced in full immediately following three incidents reported on Monday.
Atty. David Narvasa, the spokesperson for MRTH, said the use of fish plate clamps as a temporary solution is not the “prescribed practice for dangerous incidences like this.”
“The broken rail must be replaced in full--and not just use fish plate clamps--by tonight,” Narvasa said in a statement.
“According to technical experts, permanent repair of actually replacing the broken rail portion by a 6-meter new rail section should be done, with thermit welding done on both sides, then manual grinding conducted on the welded portion to smoothen it out,” he added.
The incidents of broken rails occurred between the Cubao and Santolan stations, between the Magallanes and Ayala stations, and again between the Cubao and Santolan stations, but with a different broken rail.
Temporary fish plate clamps were installed and normal operations resumed. Narvasa, however, warned that the MRT may run at an even slower speed due to the fish plate clamps.
He said the MRT is only running at a speed of 40 kilometers per hour, already below the prescribed speeds of 65 to 80 kph.
Narvasa also raised concern that the current MRT maintenance provider, APT Global, may not have enough stock rails to replace the broken ones.
“Note that the former Maintenance Provider Sumitomo Corp. left 122 stock rails. As of the last Senate hearing last October 1, the report was that APT Global had only 2.5 stock rails. However, there have already been several broken rail incidents and the 2.5 remaining stock rails would already have been used,” he said.
MRTH has been urging government to reinstate Sumitomo as the MRT's maintenance provider.
APT Global is on a monthly contract and is being monitored by a special team formed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
The DOTC, meanwhile, has blamed MRTH for the poor state of the MRT-3, saying it failed to properly maintain the rail system, prompting government to take over the operations.