Jan 06, Colombo: The first train to test the newly constructed Matara -Beliatta extension of the southern coastal line was operated this morning.
The train on the new track was operated from Beliatta to Matara at 10:00 a.m. today under the observation of the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Arjuna Rantunga.
The 113-kilometer railway line from Matara to Kataragama is to be completed in three phases and the 26-kilometer segment from Matara to Beliatta is the first phase of the project.
The second phase of the project is the 48 kilometer segment from Beliatta to Hambantota and the in the third phase the track will be extended another 39 kilometers from Hambantota to Kataragama.
Construction of the Matara to Beliatta section at a cost of US$ 278 million was carried out by the China National Machinery Import-Export Corporation, with the funding from China Exim Bank under the guidance of the Central Engineering Bureau.
There are four main stations at Kekunadura, Bambarenda, Wevurukannala and Beliatta on the line. Two sub stations have been setup at Piladuwa and Veherahena.
Apart from the two substations, all the other railway stations consist of three platforms. The main railway station at Beliatta has a 110 meter long building and three 250-300 meters long platforms.
Underground tunnels have been made for the passengers to move across the platforms at the four main railway stations.