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February 22 (LBO) – The government of Sri Lanka hopes to purchase 100 train carriages from China to develop the island’s dilapidated railway network, officials said Thursday. The carriages will be purchased from China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation, Anura Yapa, Sri Lanka’s information minister said.

Sri Lanka’s railway network was built by British colonial rulers before the country got independence 1948, and requires extensive modernization and upgrades to its carriages, maintenance of tracks and signaling systems.

Its track network has more than 700 speed restrictions

The railways are kept afloat on a state subsidy of seven billion rupees a year.

The heavily unionized transport utility services are under-priced and attempts to reform it have been stalled by the Marxist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

The Strategic Enterprises Management Agency which is tasked with improving state agencies has called for private capital to develop a series of high rises along its track running south from the capital Colombo.

India has also expressed interest in giving a credit line to develop suburban railways.

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