Ten locos idle in SLR workshops
Modified French locomotive
completes successful test run


By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Ten M9 train engines imported from France years ago are lying idle as they are considered unsuitable for the Sri Lankan rail tracks, according to Transport Minister Kumara Welgama.

Minister Welgama said in Kandy on Friday that those engines imported in 2000 could not negotiate bends. The then government had imported them without considering technical experts’ opinion. Those engines had to be modified to suit the local conditions, the Minister said.

"It was an uphill task for Sri Lankan railway engineers to modify them," the Minister said after arriving in Kandy in a train fitted with the first M9 engine modified by local engineers.

Sri Lanka Technological Institute, Moratuwa Arthur C. Clark Technological Institute and Sri Lankan Railway Engineers had joined hands to modify the first M9 engine, the Minister said. It left the Fort Railway Station for Kandy and Matale and successfully completed its test run. "The operation was highly successful," the Minister said.

The minister thanked Chief engineer CGR (locomotives) B. A. P. Ariyaratne for his efforts to make the project a success.

Minister Welgama said that a contract to modify the engines had once been offered to a foreign company, but the price quoted had been prohibitive. "Later we decided to use the local expertise and the local engineers did us proud by dong a marvelous job," the minister said.

Minister Welgama said that the government had reposed its confidence in local experts in keeping with Mahinda Chinthana, which gave pride of place to Sri Lankan talent.

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