With the view of ensuring a safe, comfortable and fast passage to the traveler, Sri Lanka railways will be increasing the number of coaches with Indian assistance, Railway Department said.
The aim is to transform railways as one of the fastest developing travelling modes in the country. There has been a steady increase in passenger numbers from just fewer than 100m in 2011 to 136m in 2016, but the service does not appear to have been able to respond adequately to new demands for expanded services or improved quality.
To meet the passenger traffic, 160 new coaches will be added to train service soon . A contract agreement for around US$ 82.64 million for the supply of 160 passenger coaches from India under concessional financing was signed between RITES Limited and Government of Sri Lanka in Colombo.
The contract agreement was signed by Mr. Mukesh Rathore, Director (Technical), RITES Ltd. and Mr. G.S. Withanage, Secretary, Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka. The passenger coaches will be custom-made in India to suit the requirements of Sri Lanka Railways.
A Line of Credit (LoC) Agreement of US$ 318 million for procurement of railway rolling stock and upgradation of rail tracks was signed between EXIM Bank of India and Government of Sri Lanka in June 2017 in Colombo. The current contract agreement for supply of 160 passenger coaches will be covered under this LoC.
Procurements of rolling stock from India which are underway also include 6 DMUs, 10 locomotives, 20 container carrier wagons and 30 fuel tank wagons. RITES Ltd. will be supplying the DMUs and locomotives, whereas Texmaco Rail & Engineering Ltd. will be supplying the wagons.
India has already completed projects close to US$ 1 billion under concessional financing in the railway sector in Sri Lanka.