Rail ops resume following magnitude 5.5 quake

A train of the Philippine National Railways. (Photo courtesy of Seasia Facebook account)

MANILA—Rail operations in Metro Manila and other affected areas were suspended Friday afternoon and were later resumed after safety inspections following a magnitude 5.5 earthquake in Quezon province.

In a message sent to reporters, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Asst. Secretary for Communications Goddes Hope Libiran said at 4:47 p.m., Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) director Michael Capati announced the suspension of MRT-3 operations for a safety inspection of its facilities.

The announcement was immediately followed by suspension of operations of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2), a message from LRT-2 communications officer Lyn Janeo said.

Following the earthquake, Libiran said the LRT-1 also stopped its operations but immediately resumed at a lower speed of 25 kph for observation, followed by the resumption of normal operations at 4:50 p.m.

Following the announcement of Philippine National Railways (PNR) general manager Junn Magno of ongoing checking of its rail bridges in affected areas, Libiran said the service of the PNR was also temporarily stopped to check the integrity of its structures.

“(The standard operating procedure) is for train lines to temporarily suspend operations to check their structural integrity after an earthquake,” Libiran said in response to questions about the suspension of these rail systems.

Following an inspection of the MRT-3, which found its power and signaling systems to be fine, and rail tracks being inspected by the TESPI Tracks Team, Capati announced the resumption of normal operations at 5:07 p.m.

However, MRT-3 operations were suspended again at 5:23 p.m. following an aftershock and all trains were immediately stabled at the nearest station.

At 5:30 p.m., Capati again announced the resumption of normal operations of the MRT-3.

LRT Authority (LRTA) administrator Reynaldo “Rey” Berroya, through Libiran, said the LRTA’s safety and AMSCO composite team started inspection of the LRT-2’s mainline at 5:41 p.m. from Santolan reversing to Recto for one whole loop prior to the resumption of operations.

At 7:08 p.m., Berroya announced the lifting of code red and resumption of normal running of trains of the LRT-2.

Following certification of the Pandacan bridge as safe, Magno announced the resumption of Gov Pascual-Tutuban-FTI service of the PNR at 6:39 p.m.

This was followed by the resumption of normal operations of the national rail line at 6:50 p.m.

A magnitude 5.3 quake struck 40 km. northeast of Burdeos, Quezon at 4:28 p.m., according to the report from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Intensity III was reported in the cities of Muntinlupa and Manila—with intensity IV reported at Quezon City and Marikina City.Raymond Carl Dela Cruz /PNA-northboundasia.com