Loans Essential for Sri Lanka Railways Maintenance


Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena has revealed the financial strain faced by Sri Lanka Railways, stating that loans are now necessary even for basic maintenance. Speaking at an event in Kegalle, Gunawardena highlighted the continuous losses incurred by the national railway system.

Gunawardena disclosed that Sri Lanka recently borrowed 500 buses from India, facilitated by an Indian credit line, to improve transportation to remote schools and hospitals. He emphasized that without such loans, the state-owned Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) would struggle to acquire buses.

Addressing the aging infrastructure of Sri Lanka Railways, Gunawardena noted the challenge of maintaining trains that are 60-70 years old. He underscored the financial constraints preventing the purchase of new engines, exacerbating issues like train derailments.

To address these concerns, Gunawardena announced the acquisition of 10,000 tracks through a loan from the Asian Development Bank. These funds will be used to repair and upgrade railway tracks, particularly in areas prone to derailments.

In a bid to modernize the railway system, Gunawardena revealed plans to convert the Kelani Valley railway line from Avissawella to Colombo into an electric railway system, signaling efforts to improve efficiency and sustainability in Sri Lanka's transportation sector.