Sri Lanka conducts test run on China-funded railway line

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People hang onto the Sri Lankan train Samudra Devi in Paraliya December 26, 2014. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

COLOMBO (Xinhua) – The Sri Lankan Ministry of Transport has conducted a test run along the newly constructed railway line between Matara and Beliatta in the south of the island country which will boost passenger traffic.

The 26.75 km long Matara-Beliatta railway extension was financed by the Exim Bank of China and the contract was awarded to China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation.

A major portion of the construction was carried out by China Railway Group 5 (CR5) and the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) which acted as the consultant.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Arjuna Ranatunga, speaking at a ceremony before conducting the test run on Sunday, said that the railway line is the first to be constructed in Sri Lanka since 1948 and it includes the longest and second longest railway bridges of 1.5 km and 1.04 km, respectively.

The railway line also includes one of the tallest railway bridges, the longest railway tunnel and the most modern railway station buildings in the country.

Mr Ranatunga said he was hoping to officially inaugurate the railway line and open it to the public before the local Sinhala and Tamil New Year in April.

The new railway line is expected to increase traffic into the south and boost trade between capital Colombo and the deep south.

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