Train services indefinitely halted
By Buddhika Samaraweera
The train services, which were scheduled to resume from today (21), have been cancelled until further notice, according to the Sri Lanka Station Masters’ Union (SLSMU).
Speaking to The Morning, SLSMU General Secretary Kasun Chamara said that although all arrangements have been made to commence train services from today, the Railways Department has on 19 October, informed that the train services will not be operational.
He also said that it would be more appropriate in the current situation if the relevant authorities grant approval to operate the train services in accordance with the Covid-19-related health guidelines as it is easier to travel by train for those travelling for essential duties.
When contacted by The Morning, Railways Department General Manager Dhammika Jayasundara said that a decision regarding the resumption of train services would be taken at the Covid-19 Committee which is scheduled to meet tomorrow (22).
Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments, and Motor Car Industry, and Community Police Services State Minister Dilum Amunugama, on 13 October, said that if the approval of the health authorities was given, necessary arrangements have been made to resume inter-provincial bus and train services from today.
Taking into account the rapid spread of Covid-19 and the increase of the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on 20 August, declared an islandwide lockdown status which was subsequently lifted on 1 October.
However, Amunugama, at the time, said that despite the reopening of the country, public transport services between the provinces would not be operational as the Government has decided to maintain the inter-provincial travel restrictions for a period of another two weeks. He also said that due to the high risk of the spread of Covid-19 through the train services, the health authorities have advised not to operate the trains for two weeks.