IESL proposes railway electrification project
To cover Panadura, Colombo and Veyangoda:
The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) has made a fresh
initiative to propose a Railway Electrification Project to the
It has come consented to act as a catalyst throughout the project
planning and implementation stages.
Electric trains cost effective than diesel locomotives
IESL President Prof Ananda Jayawardena said the initial project will
cover Panadura-Colombo-Veyangoda areas and the total cost of the project
is estimated to be Rs 5,222 million. The annual savings that will accrue
to the country would be Rs 304 million, at the present costs of diesel
Elaborating on the benefits he said at the present prices of diesel
at Rs 73 per litre and the average price of electricity of Rs 15.50 per
kwh, the energy cost saving per train-km is estimated to be Rs 190.
Electric traction creates much less pollution than diesel traction
and is less noisy. For passengers, there would be less vibration
resulting in faster, more comfortable, smoother and quieter train
Although their initial capital costs would be high, the operational
lives of electric trains will be longer than fossil fuel counterparts
due to the fewer number of moving parts and modular units used, so in
the longer term they will be more cost efficient.
With electric traction it is also possible to further increase
efficiency through regenerative braking, which means that a slowing-down
train can use its electric motors as generators and recycle energy back
into the system for other electric trains to use.
The electricity demand for railway operations would be mostly between
6am to 8am and 5pm to 7pm, which are off peak hours as far as other
consumers are concerned. Thus there would be no additional burden on the
existing power plants as their base capacities would be sufficient to
meet the requirements of electric traction.
Prof Jayawardena said this proposal on railway electrification would
be very cost effective in that it recommends the use of existing local
resources, both material and manpower, as much as possible to minimise
the costs concerned.
This segment of railway track that has the highest passenger use with
a route length of 64 kilometres, a little more than 50 kilometres, the
right length that will keep the capital investments within manageable