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* Metro rail to link Sri Lanka international airport to capital Colombo
Wed, Mar 21, 2012, 09:36 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 21, Colombo: Sri Lanka plans to link its only international airport in Katunayake to the capital Colombo by a high speed metropolitan train system by the year 2016, the government announced.

A Malaysian company, Airport Express and Rail Company limited (AEARC) has express interest in investing US $ 600 million for the project.

AEARC Chairman, Dr. Parimalan Rajo Isa Michael has said that the company will raise funds by selling stakes of the company's equity to investors from Malaysia, USA and Denmark.

The Chairman has said that the current economic situation in Sri Lanka is worthwhile for the foreign investment and the company is confident that it will be able to raise the required capital.

The proposed metro system would have two terminals, one at Katunayake and the other at Fort, Colombo with two parallel railway lines running to and from the two destinations.

According to the government, the proposed railway route would go along the airport road, then cross the Negombo main highway and the Negombo lagoon and connect to the new Katunayake expressway. The tracks will then go parallel to the main expressway for 30 kilometers till it reaches the destination.

The trains will have a capacity to carry 400 passengers and will complete nine round-trip journeys in a day targeting tourists.

The project is expected to generate over 1,000 direct employment opportunities and boost the tourism industry in the country.

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