LRT contractor pulls out rail grinder

Comm Builders & Technology Philippines, the current maintenance contractor of Light Rail Transit Line 1, has pulled out its modern rail grinder from the line, after the Light Rail Transit Authority refused to use it, despite the sorry condition of the rail tracks, according to an MST Chatter.

A rail grinder is a machine used to restore the profile and remove irregularities from worn rail track, so that trains will run smoothly, quietly and safely on the track.

CB&T purchased Loram L-Series stone rail grinder (model 2005) from American company Loram Maintenance of Way in 2008, as it prepared to bid for maintenance contracts not only for LRT Line 1, but also for Line 2 and Metro Rail Transit Line 3.  Unfortunately, LRTA, which has in its possession a 30-year-old fairmont grinding machine, refused to use the more modern rail grinder, despite the budget made available by the government for rail grinding.

Our chatter said that on Aug. 6, CB&T decided to withdraw the machine, one of the best in its class, because it was not being used.  Rail tracks were supposed to be prepared for grinding twice a year, which became more obvious when the engineering department of LRTA had reported cracking of the train bogie frames caused by stress and excessive vibration due to worn out rails.

Our chatter said LRTA, or even the next maintenance provider, should take advantage of the Loram stone grinder to ensure the safety of the line. CB&T, which maintains LRT Line 1, would be eventually replaced by Light Rail Manila Consortium, a group led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp., which won the auction for the LRT Line 1 extension to Cavite province.


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