Jan 11, Colombo: People in the south will once again be able to travel to Jaffna by train, the General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways B.A.P Ariyaratne has said.
Reconstruction of the Northern Railway Line to Kankasanthurai in Jaffna peninsula will be completed by April this year and the service will resume by the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, the official told the state-run radio.
The 146-km long track with a design speed of 120km/h was constructed in two phases - from Omanthai to Pallai and Pallai to Kankasanthurai.
The 63-km long first segment of the reconstructed railway track from Omanthai to Kilinochchi was opened for train traffic in September 2013.
The train service on the next segment of 40 km from Kilinochchi to Pallai is scheduled to commence from the first week of February allowing the train service to operate from Colombo to Pallai.
Sri Lanka Railways also completed the reconstruction of first 43 km section of the Thalaimannar Line from Medawchchiya to Madhu Road. The next 65 km section from Madhu to Thalaimannar is also scheduled to be completed soon and the train service will commence before April, the official said.
Ariyaratne said the northern track will be used for the transportation of fuel and the Railway Department hopes to import several more power sets and compartments.
The Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) is carrying out the construction work of both projects which is being financed under a US$ 425 million credit facility from India.
Sri Lanka's Northern Line from Vavuniya to Kankasanthurai in the northernmost tip of the island was completely destroyed by the Tamil Tiger terrorists during the three-decade long war. The rebels uprooted the rail tracks to build reinforced underground bunkers.