Philippines Railroad Network Updates

A few days ago, I saw a paper covering the semi-working wall clocks in Line-3′s North Avenue and Quezon Avenue stations with these words: “MRT-3 Yellow Line”. Suddenly it made sense why all of the stations were recolored to Yellow.

They are color-rebranding the train lines to reflect the new color scheme of the train lines in Mega Manila. For what purpose, I have no idea (color meaning perhaps?)

Here are the changes and other plans for Mega Manila’s railroad network…

Note: As of 23 July 2012

New Official Name Old Official Name Project Name Route
Green Line
(2012-Present)
Yellow Line
(1984-2012)
  • LRT Line 1 (“LRT-1″)
  • “Metrorail”
  • South Extension: Niog [Bacoor City, Cavite] to Redemptorist [Parañaque City, NCR]
  • Baclaran to Roosevelt
Blue Line
(2012-Present)
Purple Line
(2003-2012)
  • MRT Line 2 (“MRT-2″ / “LRT-2″)
  • “Megatren”
  • West Extension: North Port to Divisoria
  • Recto to Santolan
  • East Extension: Emerald [Cainta, Rizal] and Masinag [Antipolo City, Rizal]
Yellow Line
(2012-Present)
Blue Line
(1999-2012)
  • MRT/LRT Line 3 (“MRT-3″)
  • “Metrostar Express”
  • North Avenue to Taft Avenue
Red Line
(2012-Present)
  • MRT Line 7 (“MRT-7″)
  • “Manila Red Line”
  • Araneta [San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan] to North Avenue [Quezon City, NCR]
Orange Line
  • Philippine National Railways (“PNR”)
  • North Extension: Caloocan to Solis
  • Tutuban to Alabang

So yes, if you are used to the historical color scheme of Lines 1, 2, and 3, you now have to force yourself to forget it and get used to the new scheme. Additionally, if you still use the project names “LRT-1″, “MRT-2/LRT-2″, and “MRT-3″, time to drop those from your vocabulary and start using the new official names – as simple as “Green Line”, “Blue Line”, and “Yellow Line” respectively.

This is an International practice to name railroads by colour. It is easier to remember and converse than using numbers or project names. Have you experienced confusion when talking about LRT-1, LRT-2 and/or MRT-2 and MRT-3? Some call MRT-3 as LRT-3 too, others call LRT-1 simply as LRT and get confused if you say LRT-1.

Forget About the “Common Station” a.k.a. “SM City North EDSA” station

According to DOTC Secretary Roxas, the government has shelved the plan of building a train station in front of SM City North EDSA Annex building, supposedly linking the Green Line, the Yellow Line, and the future Red Line. This “Grand Central Station” (yet another name for it) would have been the first train station in the country to cater to three separate rail lines.

Great idea, right? Imagine if you are from Cavite and you want to go to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. All you have to do is go to your nearest station – Green Line’s Niog Station and ride all the way to the Grand Central Station. Then transfer to Red Platform, board the train, and ride all the way to Red Line’s Araneta Station. Total travel time? If I will take a guess, an hour and twenty minutes.

Or you’re from Bulacan and you want to go to SM Mall of Asia, just go to the nearest Red Line station, drop off at the Common Station, transfer to the Yellow Platform, then ride all the way to Taft Avenue Station. From there, ride a jeepney to SM MoA. An hour travel time?

But that won’t happen. The problem is that what would have been the Grand Central Station is in a position that will put it too near to the next station of the Green, Yellow, and Red Lines. This will put off the timing (arrival and departure) of the trains which usually results in trains waiting in-between stations.

Add to that, if you visit the place where the Common Station would have stood, it is hard to fit three lines together separately. The only option was to merge all three and allow any to use any platform slots. Which itself will cause problems, again, in timing. Train congestion is not an option in a region as busy and populated as Megapolitan Manila.

In the end, it has to be scrapped. It is the best option instead of creating a mountain of problems that probably won’t get solved. However, it is unclear at this time how the DOTC will connect Green Line’s Roosevelt Station and Yellow Line’s North Avenue Station. The two are a kilometer or more apart from each other. There is also no option for mall bridges just like what we have in the shared-name station “Araneta Center-Cubao” of the Blue and Yellow Line rails.

I just hope it will not be an elevated walkway – I mean, walk a kilometer twice daily? On the other hand, it is good for our health. Thousands of Filipinos will be forced to walk more than a kilometer twice daily. Hmm… yeah, go for it Secretary Roxas!

Extensions, extensions, and more extensions!

From various news reportes this 2012, extension projects were, are, will be open for bidding, while some will (hopefully) begin construction later this year. The Red Line was reported to start construction later this year. Phase-1A of the Green Line South Extension (from Redemptorist to Dr. Santos) early next year.

While the West Extension project for Blue Line is still under study because they have two options. First is to build three (3) new stations namely: Divisoria, Pier 4, and North Port; and the second option is to build just one (1) station, Divisoria. And then we also have the East Extension for Blue Line, adding two new stations after Santolan namely, Emerald and Masinag.

But how about the Green Line Malvar Station in-between Monumento and Balintawak? No information is available either. Since this station is part of the Common Station/Grand Central Station project, and since it was scrapped, I am more inclined to believe that the Caloocan-backed Malvar Station won’t happen either. When I talked to my friends who lives in the area, they themselves think the station is not needed, if built, it will be a dead station. Coinciding with the studies of the government that the said station will only lose ₱200 million per year.

It remains to be seen if Malvar Station will stand. I only hope that Caloocan City is right to force it to be built otherwise, our train operators will have another reason why they need to raise fare rates and why they are still not upgrading the facilities – losing ₱200 million per year.


Sources:

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