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Friday, 11 March 2011

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Government Gazette

First new power set from India :

Smooth ride from Colombo to Matara

Unprotected crossings cause delays:

The Government yesterday deployed the first new power set imported from India under an Indian loan scheme to strengthen long distance travel on the coastal railway line from Colombo to Matara.


The power set imported from India

This new power set designed for long distance service with all facilities will replace the Ruhunu Kumari train.

Transport Minister Kumara Welgama launching the new service from the Matara Railway station yesterday morning, said that three of the 20 new power sets ordered from India have arrived in the country.

He said that upgrading the railway service with the new power sets will help reduce the passenger rush in trains plying from Colombo to Matara.

The Minister said that Sri Lanka Railways provides an immense service despite several difficulties. It has to maintain engines brought to the country 148 years ago.

These engines should undergo regular repairs before they are added to the service, he said.

"The Ministry has also received a number of complaints on train delays. That is why, we decided to upgrade the coastal railway line and added more power sets to the railway fleet to provide a safe, fast and comfortable ride to commuters," Welgama said.

"We have already completed the upgrading of the railway line from Matara to Galle. This has resulted in reducing travel time by 30 minutes between the two destinations. We do not accept that the project was totally successful and completed. Several practical problems have arisen with the commencement of train operations after upgrading the railway line," the Minister said.

These shortcomings have been considered and will be solved shortly. This will enable to achieve the targeted result, he said.

Welgama said that 102 unprotected railway crossings between Galle to Matara have resulted in train delays.

"Action will be taken to install electrical warning signal system at unprotected railway crossings which can not to be done in a hurry. Though this is a very expensive process, we will implement it to ensure the protection of the people," he said.

Indian High Commissioner Ashok K Kanthan said that the Indian Government will provide 20 new power sets to strengthen Sri Lanka's railway sector. Three power sets out of 20 have been handed over to the Sri Lankan Government to be deployed on the coastal railway line, he said.

These power sets which can operate at a maximum speed of 100 kmph were manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory in India. One unit consists of one power car, one dummy car and four compartments. The power set can operate on both directions by changing the cab by the drivers.

The power set consists of six compartments. Ninety passengers can be accommodated in the third class while 72 passengers in the second class.

Every seat has an attached food holder as well as a fan. Each compartment is equipped with a radio and a public addressing equipment.

The High Commissioner also said that 600 employees attached to Sri Lanka Railways will be trained in India on maintaining the new power sets.

The High Commissioner said that India is a friend of Sri Lanka. "We will provide to continue to assist Sri Lanka and its development activities with the aim of achieving economic and social goals," he said.

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene said that the people of the South are grateful to Sri Lanka and Indian Governments for their endeavour to implement this project which will benefit railway commuters.

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