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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Don't Keep the Travelling Public Dangling

What are the Preliminary Findings on the LRT?

It is good that the public will be informed of the problems affecting the LRT system as thousands use the transport system as need to be reassured of their safety and security.

All that talk about bringing in foreign experts is really unnecessary unless our local engineers cannot determine what the main problems with the system are.

Any inquiry should have a panel of technical experts and also a member from NIOSH who had to make the earlier appeal to make the findings public.

I think the Factories & Machineries Acts is quite inadequate to cover problems related to equipment and systems that can cause the deaths of hundreds and should be revised. We should also look into the public liability coverage that such companies provide.

Back to the LRT system it appears to be a failure caused by the following or a combination:

• The company has been reducing costs and vital equipment like sensors and warning systems have not been replaced according to recommended hours of operation.

• The company had changed components of the system with non-original spares to cut costs.

• The rail track in the end sections had been stolen the night before.

• The driver had ignored signals to slow down as he was running behind schedule.

• The driver had fallen asleep after leaving the last station and pressed the accelerator instead of braking. (This was the cause of a high speed crash in Europe shown in a documentary on Discovery Channel)

• The driver had been working in excess of allowed working hours as the company is understaffed.

• The control system had been modified and put into action without proper verification.

I am not a railway engineer but I think these items should cover 90% of what could have gone wrong. I hope people do not just cite “technical reasons” as most accidents are really caused by man.

Photo: courtesy of the Star

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