Short term facelift to improve railways
Sri Lanka Railways need to implement a short term `facelift' program
immediately to transform it into an efficient service said General
Manager Sri Lanka Railways P.P. Wijesekera.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer Wijesekera who
assumed duties last Wednesday as the 20th GM of Railways said instead of
a large scale rehabilitation program, the urgent need is for a short
term plan to make the maximum use of the existing resources.
He said a fleet of 700 compartments is needed to provide a
satisfactory service to the commuters but there are only 500
compartments available at present with the department.
The timely supply of new power sets and 100 compartments on the
initiative of Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma helped ease the
difficult situation, he said.
He said 15 dual end driving power sets would be received next year as
arranged by the Transport Minister.
Wijesekera a Mechanical Engineer by profession and at present the
Vice President of the Institute of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL) said
that he would take immediate steps to improve the quality of train
engines and the carriages.
"In fact we should not neglect the minor defects of the trains which
in turn lead to delays and breakdowns affecting the efficiency of the
service, he stressed.
He said that approximately Rs. 1 billion is spent annually for the
maintenance of the rolling-stock. Steps will however be taken to
reactivate the maintenance work to meet the deadlines. Instead of
purchasing spare parts from India, Germany, UK, and China, a system will
be devised for both reconditioning the rolling-stock when necessary and
turning out spare parts locally at the Ratmalana workshop, he said.He
said that a `check list' system which should be maintained by the train
crew regularly, will also be introduced shortly. It will help ensure the
condition of a train after visually examining it by the competent
personnel.The operational as well as the maintenance staff must work for
the improvement of the 145 years old Sri Lanka Railways.
Steps will also be taken to look into the difficulties and grievances
of the railway workers. Improving rest rooms, and running bungalows as
well as upgrading recreational facilities for long distance train crews
have been included in the short term plan, the New General Manager