Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
Kelani Valley rail to be double-tracked
More than 1,000 families squatting railway lands along the Colombo-Avissawella railway tracks will be relocated with better housing facilities as part of the government’s plan to modernise the rail line, Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge said.
Minister Lokuge told the Daily Mirror that the railway line, commonly called the Kelani Valley line, would be double-tracked as a solution to the traffic congestion.
He said the curves of the existing line would be flattened according to the feasibility study done in this regard.
“We will carry out the track modification in two stages. The stretch from Colombo to Homagama will be developed under the initial phase. Afterwards, we will begin work on the next step up to Avissawella. Later, we are planning to rebuild the track up to Ratnapura,” he said.
It will be a project financed by Asian Development Bank (ADB). The line was first built from Colombo to Yatiyantota via Avissawella during 1900-1902 under the British colonial government.
It was extended up to Ratnapura from Avissawella during the rule of British Governor Sir Henry Mccallum (1907-1913). In 1912, the railway line was connected from Ratnapura town to Opanayaka. The line was constructed to transport agriculture products from these areas.