Aug 18, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva says the program to make all railway crossings across the country safe is successfully underway.
The Transport Minister made this remark at the opening of signal bell systems built at the crossings on the Southern coastal line today.
Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva and the Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe today participated in the opening of ten newly set up Bell and Light Security Systems at unprotected railway crossings between Hikkaduwa and Dodandoowa along the coastal line.
According to the reports nearly 75 accidents occur annually at railway crossings and 19 accidents have been reported on coastal line in 2016 and 20 in 2017 while 15 accidents have been recorded on that line until last month this year.
The Railway Department taking into its consideration the number of accidents taken place at the unprotected level crossings and identifying the number of such systems needed, launched a project in 2016 to set up bell and light systems at 200 unprotected level crossings.
The project implemented by Moratuwa University affiliated Uni-Consultancy Services Company under the supervision of the Railway Department costs USD 6.4 million.
There are 1,337 crossings connected to the railway system in Sri Lanka. Of these, 526 have been provided with protection and 626 crossings have bamboo gates.
Under the project, automatic alarm systems will be installed at all the unprotected crossings. In the first phase 200 such systems will be installed by the end of next year.
Under the project, the bell and light security systems will be set up at 139 unprotected level crossings along the coastal line and at 61 places along the main and Puttalam lines.
The Minister said all unprotected railway crossings along the coastal line will be set up with automatic alarm systems by January 2019.
With the setting up of these new systems, the Railway Department expects a considerable decrease in the level crossing accidents.