By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer | June 4, 2014
MANILA, Philippines–If it’s an angry sign from heaven, then the government better hurry up with solutions.
A lightning strike partly paralyzed the operations of the Metro Rail Transit on Tuesday morning, causing the latest technical problem on the congested train line on Edsa.
The incident was recorded at 9:53 a.m. and idled half of the line, from North Avenue station to Shaw Boulevard, MRT spokesman Hernando Cabrera said in a phone interview.
He said a lighting strike in the Kamuning area in Quezon City hit a cable that delivers power to the trains. Repairs were immediately undertaken and the system was restored at 11:49 a.m.
Cabrera said lightning strikes, though rare, had affected operations of Metro Manila’s elevated railways in the past. Light Rail Transit Line 1, for example, had the same disruption two years ago.
MRT recently underwent a management shakeup after General Manager Al Vitangcol III was replaced by Malacañang following allegations of conflict of interest over a P517-million maintenance contract awarded to a company whose incorporators included an uncle of his wife. Vitangcol maintained that his relative had already divested his interests from the company before it got the contract.
Earlier, he was accused by the Czech ambassador of trying to extort $30 million from a Czech company in exchange for a contract to supply new coaches, a charge Vitangcol also denied.
Cabrera maintained that the MRT had been exploring “technical solutions” to make operations more efficient amid increasing ridership. Among them was the use of two trains previously reserved as back-up, as well as a scheme where trains skip certain stations to serve the most congested areas.