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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.

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