The first ever train on the newly constructed Matara-Beliatta railway line would be commissioned at 10 a.m. tomorrow, the Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry said yesterday.
The ministry said the train would be commissioned initially from Beliatta to Matara.
The Matara-Beliatta stretch which is 26 kilometres in length is the first phase of the Southern Railway Extension project. The second phase spans from Beliatta to Hambantota (48 kms) while the third and final phase extends to Kataragama from Hambantota (39 kms).
The Exim Bank of China provided USD 278.2 million as funds to construct the first phase of the railway extension project.
The main contractor of the project was the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation while the China Railway Services Company carried out the constructions as the sub-contractor under the instructions of the Central Engineering Corporation.
The Matara-Beliatta stretch comprises of four main railway stations at Kekanadura, Bambaranda, Wewrukannala and Beliatta and two sub stations at Piladuwa and Weherahena.
One of the special features of the railway stations is that they consist of subways instead of flyovers for the commuters to crossover between platforms.
The longest railway tunnel in Sri Lanka, which is 615 metres in length, has been constructed along the Matara-Beliatta railway line in close proximity to the Kakanadura Railway Station. (Lahiru Pothmulla)