Ircon completes final leg of Northern Railway Project
The train services from Madhu Road to Talai Mannar Pier will be declared open and dedicated to people of Sri Lanka by Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on March 14, 2015, during his visit to Sri Lanka, which takes place from March 13 to 14, 2015.
The inauguration ceremony to be held at Talaimannar Pier station will be attended by Internal Transport Minister Ranjit Madduma Bandara and Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
The trial run on the newly constructed railway track between Madhu Road and Talai Mannar Pier (63 Kms) has been scheduled for March 11, 2015.
“After the successful commissioning of this section, the commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to restore rail track connectivity in the Northern Province after a lapse of 25 years will be fulfilled. This will also fulfil the long cherished dream of the local Tamil people for having direct rail connectivity to Colombo. Additionally, this will also help in the reconciliation efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka with the local Tamil diaspora,” said Ircon General Manager S.L. Gupta.
The reconstructed track of 63 kilometres is the last segment of the 265 kilometre-long, prestigious Northern Railway Line Reconstruction Project, which is executed by Ircon International Limited, a Government of India-owned company. This section has five crossing stations in Murukan, Mannar, Pesalai, Talai Mannar and Talai Mannar Pier, along with three halt stations in Mathotham, Thiruketheeswaram and Thoddaveli.
The railway tracks from Omanthai to Kankesanthurai and Medawachchiya to Talai Mannar Pier were completely destroyed during the prolonged ethnic war conflict. The Government of India, under its development credit policy, extended support to the Government of Sri Lanka to rebuild the 265-kilometre railway track in the Northern Province by providing a line of credit of US $ 650 million.
The Indian line of credit is provided at a very concessional rate with a repayment period spreading over 20 years, with a five-year moratorium period. This cost broadly includes the construction of track, platforms, station buildings and structures, the supply of locomotives, along with the cost of providing signalling and telecommunication systems over a length of 325 kilometres in the Northern Province.
The tracks between Omanthai to KKS (154 kilometres) and Medawachchiya – Madhu Road (45 kilometres) are already operational and with the opening of the Madhu Road – Talai Mannar Pier segment, the reconstruction of the entire Northern Province railway line will be completed.
The reconstructed railway track is designed with a speed potential of 120 kilometres per hour. Rail joints have been replaced using state-of-the-art welding technology. The latest technologies like Pre-stressed Concrete sleepers, CMS (Cast Manganese Steel) crossings with standard turnouts, Long Welded Rails with Switch Expansion joints, modern Signaling and Telecommunication systems, mechanized tamping and packing etc. have been incorporated to provide a long lasting track, with minimal maintenance effort.
For execution of this project, highly sophisticated machines imported from the US and Europe were extensively used. Local manpower and local agencies were deployed to generate local employment and skills development. The completion of the rail projects in the Northern region is a big step towards providing safe, time and fuel efficient, comfortable and environment-friendly transport service to the people of Sri Lanka.
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