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New locomotives to hasten rail project

Three new locomotives, built at India's Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, have arrived at the Colombo Port to speed up the Northern Rail project. These Locomotives are for the Sri Lanka Railway as part of the ongoing Northern Railway reconstruction project.

IRCON, General Manager S L Gupta said that three more locomotives would also be supplied to the Sri Lanka Railway under the Northern Railway project shortly. "These rail projects spreading over 250 kilometres in length are being funded as part of $ 800 million line of credit extended by the Indian Government."


Joint General Manager, Mechanical, Kamal Singla, General Manager, Sri Lanka, S.L. Gupta and Joint General Manager, Finance of IRCON International Limited, Alin Roy Choudhary.

Ircon International Limited, a state owned construction firm of India, operating under the Indian Railways is executing the 252 km-long northern railway track reconstruction project.

It was set up in 1976 by the Government of India as a wholly owned entity of the Ministry of Indian Railways and was then known as the Indian Railway Construction Company Limited.

"As the name indicates, initially, its primary charter was the construction of railway projects in India and abroad. Subsequently, the company diversified into the other transport infrastructure segments with its expanded and diversified scope of operations across the world," said Gupta.

"IRCON's growth to become a global construction firm was steady and fast. It has been a consistent winner of the 'Highest Foreign Exchange Earner' award in the construction sector in India for many years competing with many private construction companies."

"Under the Indian lines of credit, these railway lines from Medawachchiya to Talaimannar Pier and Omanthai to Kankesanthurai are being reconstructed. An ultra modern signalling and telecommunication system is also being installed under these lines of credit," said Gupta.

Being a state-owned construction company under Indian Railways and being globally recognised railway infrastructure builders, IRCON was the natural choice for this reconstruction project funded by the Government of India. When reconstructed, the track will be a modern railway line.

The Kalutara-Matara coastal railway line segment is also being upgraded by IRCON. The track is designed for a speed of 120 kmph with a smooth and comfortable riding quality.

Modern technology, such as flash butt welding, long welded rails, cast manganese steel crossing with standard turnouts are being used in the reconstruction. "No wooden sleepers have been used in constructing the entire track thus aiding forest conservation," said Gupta.

The project which has created employment opportunities for 2,000 Sri Lankans directly and many more thousands indirectly, will help the people of the Northern Province have a continuous train service from Jaffna or Talaimannar to Colombo once these railway lines become operational.

"IRCON and the Government of India are pleased to be part of Sri Lanka's development, while further strengthening the ties of friendship and solidarity between our two countries," said Gupta.

Ircon is a one of the largest engineering construction organisations of India and are pioneers in railway construction.

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