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Sunday, 17 May 2009

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Government Gazette

Short term facelift to improve railways



P.P. Wijesekera

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 pointed out.

 

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