Hot weather may be causing MRT glitches, officials say

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 19) — Metro Rail Transit (MRT) officials said the hot weather may have caused train service interruptions in the past days.

"MRT is an electrical and mechanical system, so when there's an increse in temperature, yung [the] likelihood of more fatigue and overheating of components will pose higher maintenance activity," MRT Engineer Deo Manalo said in an April 19 press conference.

His statement comes after a southbound train stopped at the Magallanes station at 8:48 p.m. on April 17 after smoke filled the cars, forcing its passengers out. Based on initial investigation, the train's axle encountered a problem.

The glitches happened right after the maintenance work during the Holy Week break.  On average, glitches in the MRT system occur 35 times in a month.

Manalo added the company is talking to Busan Rails, the MRT's maintenance provider, about replacing the grease used to lubricate train components.

"Of course we understand that these trains are manufactured by European countries and they require certain grease which may not be acceptable to the temperature or weather in the Philippines," said Busan Rails managing director Eugene Rapanut.

Despite these problems, MRT General Manager Rodolfo Garcia said the MRT is safer than before.

"Kung hindi na-determine ng mga technicians namin ang dahilan bakit nagkaroon ng problema these past two days, hindi namin palalabasin ang mga train namin," he said.

[Translation: If our technicians could not determine the reason for the problems these past two days, we would not allow our trains to be deployed.]

Garcia also said the Department of Transportation is buying more train cars to increase the capacity of the MRT.

The MRT is also planning to increase the number of cars per train from three to four.