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  1. #61
    Freight neglected in Colombo Suburban Railway Project

    While electrification and modernisation of railways is much needed for the development of the country’s logistics sector, freight has been completely neglected in the Colombo Suburban Railway Project. Also while the initial ground work on the project has already commenced, no backup plan has been prepared to face the upcoming power crisis.

    A feasibility study on the Asian Development Bank-funded project was presented by Rodolfo Martinez, consultant to the railway electrification and modernization project of Sri Lanka at the 15th John Diandas Memorial Lecture organised by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport at the Institute of Engineers Sri Lanka recently.

    Mr. Martinez stated that the Western Province Megapolis Plan expects the daily rail passenger demand to increase to 1.2 million by 2025 and 1.4 million by 2035 from the 300,000 figure recorded in 2016. The electric railway plan serves five different corridors in Colombo and additional tracks would be necessary in some sections as the demand grows.

    The first phase of the project would be a 70 km section from Panadura to Veyangoda with 23 stations. The station to station commercial speed would be around 40 km per hour, once modernized and electrified, he noted. During the panel discussion Moratuwa University Department of Transport and Logistics Professor, Amal Kumarage pointed out that the project has completely neglected the money-making freight component and only addressed the loss making-passenger transportation over the years and it still continues. He stressed that railway connectivity should be made to the main airports and harbours to ease freight movement.

    Noting that the numbers projected under the Megapolis plan seems to be unrealistic and not validated, Prof. Kumarage elaborated, “The Megapolis project has based its projections off a study done several years ago when growth of demand for railroad had been high, and in the years since, the demand growth for it has been much lower.”

    The power crisis is one of the biggest problems the country is about to face very soon, stated Energy Consultant Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya. “While only one per cent of the current supply is required for railway electrification, there is no backup plan to face the expected power crisis. Renewable energy sources could only be used as a supplementary source of power and cannot be a backup,” noted Dr. Siyambalapitiya.


  2. #62
    Professionals push connectivity, access in Sri Lanka rail electrification .

    Aug 11, 2017 18:49 PM GMT+0530

    ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan transport professionals have praised a plan to electrify the railway but want more careful study and inclusion of multi-modal connectivity, freight and station accessibility to ensure the investment’s best use.

    Preliminary designs for the electrification and modernisation of the railway between Veyangoda, north of the capital Colombo, and Panadura on the coast to the south are almost ready, said Rodolfo Martinez, a consultant to the project.

    The modernisation will be done according to the Colombo suburban railway master plan, he told a recent forum held by the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, Sri Lanka.

    The modernisation, catering mainly to passenger transport, will result in a better and more reliable suburban commuter railway service, along with upgrades to stations, Martinez said during the 15th John Diandas Memorial Lecture.

    The government’s Western Region Megapolis master plan covering the Colombo metropolitan region shows potential demand available in Colombo for rail travel, he said.

    “If you provide the service, demand will come because demand is there. The plan assumes the Colombo metropolitan region will continue to grow.”

    Martinez said Sri Lanka cannot afford not to modernise the railway and improve public transport given increasing congestion on the roads.

    The railway was already a big asset Colombo has and could be better used with modifications and modernisation, the results of which would be seen in three years.

    Martinez said stations will be modernised with better passenger information, electronic ticketing but that integration with buses remains to be done.

    However, transport professionals at the forum pressed for a more wide-ranging study and project that would include station accessibility, multimodal links between rail and other modes like bus, and freight carriage.

    “The study should be realistic. This country has a lot of examples of putting capacity where we don’t need it and not having capacity where we need,” said Amal Kumarage, senior professor of the University of Moratuwa Department of Transport & Logistics.

    The feasibility study should include forecasts of railway patronage with station development with bus accessibility and without, he told the forum.

    “That’s why we need to include bus and railway station development. That’s the scientific way forward. Saying that’s another study is not the best way forward,” Kumarage said.

    The Megapolis project growth rate forecasts had turned out to be “highly optimistic” and below what was projected in the feasibility study two years ago.

    “We know the Megapolis plan numbers have not been validated,” Kumarage said. “We need high, low and moderate growth scenarios. It seems only the high growth factor was looked at.”

    Good connections to railway stations and speeds between stations were needed to make rail attractive compared with road transport.

    “People make door-to-door decisions, so speeds are important. You may not have much margin over bus travel. So the investment may not be worth it unless you have good speeds between stations and very good connections to railway stations. That’s why the access aspect seems a bit underrepresented in this study. That’s critical.”

    Kumarage said the feasibility study should also consider rail fares in the modernised system to see if higher prices would affect potential demand and how big a subsidy would be needed.

    “I don’t think any country makes money on urban passenger transport by rail. The benefit is in the economy.”

    The suburban railway master plan should consider better connectivity, he said, noting how railway connections to the island’s ports and international airport had been neglected.

    “in Sri Lanka the railway to the airport stops 100 metres from the airport, the same way rail goes up to the wall of Colombo port. It’s a unique situation. We have to look at connectivity, multimodalism, freight connectivity.”

    Palitha Samarasinghe, Railway Electrification and Modernization Project director, said freight transport was not covered within the scope of the project but be done in a separate study.

    “We need at least 50km distance to move freight for it to be commercially viable for the railway department.”

    Kumarage said passenger and freight transport should not be looked at separately but in an integrated manner.

    “Colombo is unique with the port right within the city. So we cannot exclude goods movement from the railway network.

    “Goods movements are mostly in the Western province so a lot can be connected with railway since the aim is easing congestion. It may be better to move freight by rail.

    ”The feasibility should consider it. This is where we go wrong –leaving this for another study. We might solve the passenger problem and keep the freight problem and might never be able to use the system for freight. That’s what has happened for the past 40-50 years –the railway gradually lost money-making freight and got loss-making passengers.”
    (COLOMBO, August 11, 2017)


  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by Haleef View Post
    Yes in my opinion, I think they need more better, and more useful engines. Even today I was on an M6 locomotive's cab while it was hauling a coastal line slow train, and I realised the locomotive finds it very difficult to pull the train. Even the driver was mentioning that it barely pulls 8 carriages alone on the up country line. But nevertheless, still a brilliant locomotive, in service for almost 38 years.
    The coaches look good, but I doubt SLR will purchase coaches as such. Also new trains will be arriving later this year soon, as the tracks leading to the Colombo Port and also in some areas around Dematagoda are currently being/already been replaced with new rails and sleepers, and also ballast :P .
    Do you know how many Astra and CSR carriages are currently in service in Sri Lanka ? According to below article, 1000 Astra carriages were delivered to Sri Lanka in 1970 and in 2014, SLR agreed to get 280 more carriages from Astra. Please give me an update if all the 280 carriages have been delivered from Astra to SLR ?

    Also according to Railpage's statistics, only 565 carriages were in use by SLR in 2014. Where all the remaining 435 coaches ?

    Astra Passenger Coaches is in talks with Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) for the delivery of 280 passenger coaches. The negotiations for the procurement of 160 coaches delivered urgently and 120 in a second phase of the contract are taking place at Astra’s manufacturing plant in Arad.

    It is not the first time SLR and Astra collaborate. In 1970, SLR imported 1000 coaches produced by the Romanian rolling stock manufacturer. These have been refurbished a couple of years ago and are also used by private passenger operators Expo Rail and Rajadhani Express, in partnership with SLR.

    Attached Images

  4. #64
    Please see the red ALCO type of engine in the below picture. Is it New Baby in the SLR fleet ?

    credits to Thilanka Abeyasekara.
    Attached Images

  5. #65
    Senior Member Haleef's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Ratmalana, Sri Lanka
    Quote Originally Posted by banuthev View Post
    Please see the red ALCO type of engine in the below picture. Is it New Baby in the SLR fleet ?

    credits to Thilanka Abeyasekara.
    Nope, that's owned privately by Holcim lanka in Puttalam. They hire SLR drivers for that engine. Was bought from India, and is now known as the ALCO WDM6.

  6. #66
    Massive electric train project to begin this year

    The Transport Ministry has shortlisted six countries to call for tenders for an electric train project due to begin this year, Ministry Secretary Nihal Somaweera said. Under the project estimated to cost US$ 600 million, a track of 158km will be developed covering the areas between Panadura and Polgahawela, Fort to Negombo and the Kelani Valley line.

    Mr Somweera said tenders would be called from companies from Japan, South Korea, France, Australia, Spain and China and the entire project would be allocated to one of them. The project would involve building platforms, installing ticket machines, establishing a security fence along the track and providing engines and compartments, he said. The control system also would be modernised.
    A feasibility study for the project costing US$ 30 million was completed before deciding on shortlisting the countries, the secretary said. He said the the project was being funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and was scheduled to be completed in about three years.

    The Sunday Times

  7. #67
    Property development prospects in Sri Lanka railway upgrade

    Aug 17, 2017 18:31 PM GMT+0530

    ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s railway and urban development authorities are to work together to include property development, known as transit-oriented development, in a planned modernisation and electrification of suburban rail.

    Palitha Samarasinghe, Railway Electrification and Modernization Project director, said the railway department was in talks with the Urban Development Authority on transit-oriented development or TOD, integrating rail and commercial development schemes.

    “We are having talks with UDA on transit oriented rail operations,” he told a forum. “We asked them to consider railway development when planning urban development.”

    He was responding to a question whether the modernisation, involving station upgrades, includes property development with private sector participation, during the 15th John Diandas Memorial Lecture held by the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, Sri Lanka.

    “We will consider whatever urban development that can be included,” Samarasinghe said.

    Transit-oriented development exploits the connectivity between the rail system and the city provided by stations and enables rail operators to earn alternative revenue and generate increased ridership.

    The higher revenues in turn enable provision of better services to the public as in places like Hong Kong, whose Mass Transit Railway Corporation earns one-third of its revenue from non-fare sources like profit from retail and property management.
    (COLOMBO, August 17, 2017)

    - http://www.economynext.com/Property_...-3-8543-6.html

  8. #68

  9. #69

  10. #70
    Hi Haleef,

    Is it good idea operating light weight railway in Colombo as mentioned on the above link?

  11. #71
    Senior Member Haleef's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Ratmalana, Sri Lanka
    Quote Originally Posted by banuthev View Post
    Hi Haleef,

    Is it good idea operating light weight railway in Colombo as mentioned on the above link?
    No comment. I think firstly road and traffic congestion should be taken care of first. But it would be a good idea, but I guess its all only talks, and I doubt that it'll be done. Let's see.

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