The Royal Colombo Golf Course (RCGC) spans across acres of greenery and adds picturesque views to its setting. Running through this course is the Kelani Valley railway track from Maharagama to Kosgama. Recently, measures were taken to install a second railway track across the Colombo Golf Course and the project is at present in its planning stage. The learned that the project has been undertaken by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation in collaboration with the Department of Railways.
History of RCGC
The RCGC dates back to the establishing of golf in Sri Lanka and also highlights a century of sporting traditions, customs, manners and styles during British Ceylon. Back in 1879, the British decided to introduce golf to the Ceylonese. The British being organized in any discipline they undertook, the sport of golf inevitably spread throughout Ceylon. Sports such as horse racing, polo, cricket, football, hockey and rugby union were introduced at the Galle Face Green. Sharing the premises with cricket and rugby fans, the Royal Golf Club was established. Yet with an expanding membership and the Galle Face Green becoming more and more crowded, it became less suitable for golf.
The RCGC will have to come up with their plan especially in terms of ensuring the safety of the golfers because now they will have to cross not one but two tracks
Later on, Sir Charles Henry de Soysa, a Ceylonese philanthropist, set up a farm named Alfred Model Farm in pursuit of creating a centre for excellence in agriculture and animal husbandry, which, however, never prospered. Around the same time, Sir West Ridgeway arrived in Colombo as the new British Governor of Ceylon. Being a golf enthusiast himself, the golfing community’s requests for a separate ground fell on sympathetic ears. In July 1896 the Alfred Model Farm was then officially converted to the Colombo Golf Club.
In 1928, His Majesty King George V, bestowed upon the Club the privilege of using the prefix “Royal”, and consequently the Colombo Golf Club came to be known as the Royal Colombo Golf Club.
- Recently, measures were taken to install a second railway track across the Colombo Golf Course
- The project has been undertaken by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation in collaboration with the Department of Railways
- The Kelani Valley railway line is a single track all the way and it is one of the corridors that needs access
- to a railway
‘ADB is conducting a feasibility study’
- Transport Ministry Secretary
Transport Ministry secretary Nihal Somaweera said that this isn’t a new railway track, but doubling of the existing track. “The Asia Development Bank (ADB) is currently doing a feasibility study since it is funding the project. After the designing stage is completed it will be implemented. We are trying to make it an elevated track, but it would cost a lot of money,”Somaweera said.
‘New track expected to go a little above ground’
-RCGC General Manager
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, RCGC General Manager, Wing Commander (SLAF Retd.), Nalin Jayatilleke said that the contract has been offered to a foreign entity. “Just a few months ago, a survey was done. So far it’s at the planning stage and as far as I know this track is expected to go a little above ground. We are closely following it up with the engineers attached to the Railway Department and the Transport Ministry. However a plan hasn’t been sketched yet since it’s done by a foreign consultancy,” Fernando said.
‘Double-tracking is the only solution for the traffic congestion’
- Prof. Amal Kumarage
Senior Professor Amal Kumarage at the Department of Transport and Logistics Management of the University of Moratuwa said that double-tracking is the only solution for the traffic congestion in Colombo. “The Kelani Valley railway line is a single track all the way and it is one of the corridors that needs access to a railway. So far only the coastal and the main railway tracks have double tracks. The Negombo-Puttalam railway line has double tracks up to a certain point. People complain about the traffic. By introducing double railway tracks this problem could be solved,” explained Kumarage.
‘The RCGC will have to come up with a safety plan first’
Voicing his concerns about this project, Sri Lanka Golf Union President Priyath Fernando said that the double-tracking project would certainly affect the golf course. “The RCGC will have to come up with their plan especially in terms of ensuring the safety of the golfers because now they will have to cross not one but two tracks,”Fernando cautioned.