LRT-1 Cavite extension gears up for 2024 start of operations

By Doris Dumlao-Abadilla, Inquirer Business

Elevated railway operator Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) expects to start operating the 11.7-kilometer Cavite extension of the Light Railway Transit-1 (LRT-1) by 2024, benefiting suburban residents who commute daily to work in Metro Manila.

“We are about almost 70-percent complete now,” LRMC president Juan Alfonso said at a press briefing last week when parent conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. announced its 2021 financial results.

With the completion of the viaduct, LRMC is now starting the electromechanical upgrade of the railway and the installation of new rails. Civil works on the Cavite extension program broke ground in September 2019.

“We hope that we will be done sooner than later. We’re pushing for a 2024 start [of operations] and we look forward to that,” Alfonso said.One of the recent accomplishments of LRMC was the upgrading of the signaling system of the railway, a P7-billion undertaking to replace the 30-year-old signaling system of the country’s oldest elevated railway, Alfonso said.

“The new Alstom system allows for trains to be safer and also the headways to be reduced from three and a half minutes to two and a half minutes, so [it will allow] faster and safer journeys,” he added.

LRMC has received a total of 16 new generation train sets to date, each with a total capacity of around 1,400 passengers. The new fleet will still need to undergo complete safety checks, inspections and required test runs before deployment in mid-2022.

The railway operator also expects the Roosevelt station in the old alignment to be reopened between the third and fourth quarters of this year. It was closed to pave the way for signaling upgrade.

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LRT-1 is being extended starting from its existing Baclaran station to the future Niyog Station in Bacoor, Cavite. The project will stretch the integrated LRT-1 system to a total of 32.4 km and will be operated and maintained by the private sector proponent.

The LRT-1 extension and upgrade program is estimated to cost P64.91 billion, inclusive of the P19.83-billion official development assistance component.

LRMC has also proposed to implement more contactless payment options for the railway system. A proposal has been submitted to the Department of Transportation to put in place a quick response code payment system for consumers.

Meanwhile, Alfonso said the common station, a transportation hub at the tip of Trinoma mall complex in Quezon City that will connect Metro Manila’s existing railway systems, may be completed by next year. INQ