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India, China boost for Railways

The government will import 33 new power sets from India and China to strengthen train services next year.

Railway Department spokesman Wijaya Samarasinghe said that 20 power sets would be imported from Rites Company, India. They would have First, Second and Third class compartments with restaurant and toilet facilities, he said.

The remaining 13 power sets would be acquired from SIFANG Company, China, he said. Seven would be deployed to augment the train service in the up country and four on the Kelani Valley line. The remaining two sets with air-conditioned facilities would be utilised exclusively for tourism, he said.

They had received instructions from Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma to streamline railway services in 2010 and the acquisition of 33 power sets would be a key element in their overall strategy.

Samarasinghe said that rehabilitation of railway tracks in the Northern region was in progress and the track between Vavuniya and Omanthai was being rehabilitated. Services between Vavuniya and Thandikulam had commenced recently, he said. He expressed confidence that the track between Thandikulam and Omanthai could be rehabilitated by April.

He said the modernisation of the coastal line between Matara and Colombo would start soon. This would allow trains to operate at 100 km per hour. According to him, an Indian company, IRCON was engaged in repairs between Galle and Matara stations..

He said the Chinese company would be responsible for extending the southern line upto Kataragama. In keeping with this project, they would lay the line between Matara and Beliatta by end of next year.

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