On Track

Aug 28, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s long-neglected railway system is a useful complement to roads and could take bulk freight transport off the roads, reducing traffic jams, a senior official said.

However, he said, to make the best use of rail, railway station stations should be set up in a manner that suits the mode of transport.

“We should not locate railway stations according to the wishes of politicians. They should be at a reasonable distant to cater to the bulk transport requirements of rail.”

Constant stops and starts at railway stations were not economical.

One of the problems of the railway system is that there are too many railway stations set up to close to each other to satisfy the demands of politicians who want to please their constituents, transport experts have said.

Wijesekera said the island has 1,450 km of rail track left today as some lines had been abandoned owing to the ethnic war and other reasons.

Several projects were being implemented to upgrade and expand the system.

These include new rail lines from southern Matara to Kataragama, further south.

The railway also plans to improve its control system on part of the hill country netw