Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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Is there an alternative to Cross River Rail?

by Rail Express — last modified Feb 01, 2012 10:09 AM
— filed under: 
A cheaper alternative to the Queensland Government’s iconic $7.7bn Cross River Rail project, dubbed the “Cleveland Solution” and costed at $2.5bn has been detailed in a comprehensive report by leading international engineering firm GHD for the Council of Mayors (SEQ).
Is there an alternative to Cross River Rail?
By Jennifer Perry
The following provides an analysis of the report, Public Transport in SEQ – Options to deliver value and innovation in future South East Queensland public transport infrastructure, detailing both the problem that the Cross River Rail and “Cleveland Solution” proposals seek to address, as well the solutions the proposals put forward.
A key challenge for the investment program for public transport infrastructure in South East Queensland (SEQ) is how to meet the needs of a growing region within the financially constrained fiscal environment now faced by all levels of government.
According to the report, the underlying assumption for delivering the government’s South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program (SEQIPP), now incorporated within the Queensland Infrastructure Plan (QIP), is that the Queensland Government is in a strong financial position. However current state budget projections are for a deficit position until about 2014-15.
“Under this scenario, general government capital purchases are expected to drop significantly from about $8.8bn in 2009-10 to $5.2bn in 2014-15 – about 40% less than 2009-10 levels,” the report states.
The report therefore asks the question as to whether funds exist to proceed with the Queensland Government’s $7.7bn Cross River Rail project and finds it “unlikely” that the proposal can be afforded in the current fiscal environment.
GHD argue that the Queensland Government spends around $1.5bn a year on public transport infrastructure. The high cost of Cross River Rail represents five years of such spending, potentially “crowding out” other public transport infrastructure projects for many years and delaying the delivery of other urgently needed public transport infrastructure across the rest of the SEQ network.
It also makes the point that neither the state nor the Federal Government have a budget commitment to fund the Cross River Rail beyond the $25m for detailed feasibility studies, an environmental impact assessment process and a detailed business case. These investigations were scheduled to be completed in 2011.
It is for the above reasons that the Council of Mayors (SEQ) commissioned GHD to look at more affordable ways to deliver value and innovation in future SEQ public transport infrastructure and whether the objectives of the Cross River Rail project can be met in a more cost effective way.
The problem
The report outlines the problems currently being experienced by Brisbane’s inner city rail network that both the Cross River Rail and Cleveland Solution proposals seek to address.
The inner city rail network is operating close to capacity with the city platforms from Roma Street Station to Bowen Hills experiencing high utilisation and effectively no room for expansion.
“In the morning peak hour, the Merivale Bridge over the Brisbane River currently operates 19 services on the Gold Coast (4), Beenleigh (7) and Cleveland (8) Lines,” it explains.
“At 3 minute headways the single northbound track over the bridge is considered to have a theoretical capacity for 20 train paths in the morning peak hour. This capacity restriction is confirmed by the delays regularly experienced by these services during the morning peak.
“The available capacity on this inner city network is dominated by the Citytrain services in the peak hours, significantly impairing the ability to operate reliable
freight services across the city or to the Port of Brisbane.”
Cross River Rail
Consequently, the Inner City Rail Capacity project was developed and the Cross River Rail proposal was identified to construct two new tracks in tunnel from Yeerongpilly in the south to north of Bowen Hills.
The Cross River Rail project includes four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street and two new surface stations at Yeerongpilly and the Exhibition. The project also includes a new Citytrain stabling facility at Clapham, adjacent to Moorooka.
GHD make the point that as Brisbane grows, the solutions become very expensive – hence the $7.7bn cost of the current Cross River Rail proposal.
“While the [Cross River Rail project] is a visionary solution to the capacity problems of [Brisbane’s] inner city rail network ... [and] can address many of the network connectivity issues and bottlenecks in the core ... the $7.7bn estimated cost of the proposal will seriously test the borrowing capacity of most governments and would only attract very modest private capital,” it states.
GHD argue that SEQ can continue to compound the central core capacity problem with more expensive branch lines and expensive core enhancements, “or we can transition the existing radial system to an integrated network”.
The report says the first step to achieve this could be to “extract some lines from the core and reintroduce them as independent lines crossing the core...” This is the basis of the “Cleveland Solution”.
The “Cleveland Solution”: more affordable?
While the report goes into some depth in detailing the Cleveland Solution, it is worth outlining this here for readers.
The report states that underpinning the Cleveland Solution is: 1. innovative financing, 2. new technology (light metro) and 3. potential entry of a new operator.
The $2.5bn cost of the proposal includes a new fleet of rolling stock and would release 24 existing 6 car electric multiple unit (EMU) sets back to the Citytrain network at an estimated value of $240m.
GHD argue against a traditional Public Private Partnership (PPP) to fund the project and instead advocate for an “Availability PPP” model, where contractors and operators are paid on the basis of the time the assets is made available to the user.
According to the report, that this model has been “reasonably common” in social infrastructure and is emerging in public transport across several Australian states including the Gold Coast Rapid Transit System (GCRT).
Light Metro
The report states that the Cleveland Solution “is made possible” by introducing light metro rolling stock that can negotiate the tighter corners and steeper grades of the proposed alignment between Park Road and Roma St Stations.
“Light metro rolling stock has a capacity of approximately 600 passengers per train and would operate at 3 to 5 minute headways to service the demand on the Cleveland Line. Consequently, the Cleveland and Ferny Grove Lines would enjoy a much more frequent service,” it states.
New operator
GHD also argue for the introduction of a new operator onto the SEQ network alongside Queensland Rail in order to drive “competitive tension”, innovation and a reduction in the cost of passenger journeys.
The report states that QR's current monopoly “stifles” innovation.
“The subsidy to operate the service is increasing (in the order of) $550m in 2007/8 to approximately $700m in 2013/14,” it states.
Specific details of the proposal
Specifically, the Cleveland Solution removes the Cleveland Line services from the Merivale Bridge by constructing a new rail line from the Park Road Station to Roma Street Station, via a tunnel to Woolloongabba, then a new bridge over the river beside (and imitating) the Captain Cook Bridge and Riverside Expressway, and then via a tunnel beneath Herschel Street to a new underground platform under the Roma Street Station.
New underground stations would then be provided at Park Road and Woolloongabba, and elevated stations at Gardens Point (QUT) and/or Queen Street.
After Roma Street Station the proposal would then run on surface up the Exhibition Line corridor, with a new Exhibition Station and a new Bowen Hills (West) Station before joining into the Ferny Grove Line at Breakfast Creek.
The proposal would remove both the Cleveland Line and the Ferny Grove Line from the congested rail network core between Bowen Hills and Roma St (but would interchange with the northern line at those two stations).
Critically, the report states the proposal releases the Cleveland Line train paths (8 in peak hour) across the Merivale Bridge, providing an immediate capacity gain of over 70% for growth on the Beenleigh and Gold Coast Lines.
In summary, the proposal, by extracting the Cleveland, Ferny Grove and Doomben lines from the “core” allows for:
  • Nearly half the capacity of train paths on Merivale Bridge to become available at about one-third of the cost of the Cross River Rail proposal
  • Platform and track space through the central core to be released
  • A real opportunity to inject innovation, private investment, competition, and importantly value for money into the system
  • Citytrain rolling stock to be released to the wider network.
To conclude: wise words
In conclusion, in support of the case for the Cleveland Solution, the report wisely states that Infrastructure Australia (IA) has been clear in that there is a powerful need for change in the way that infrastructure is funded and the rigour with which infrastructure decisions are made.
“We particularly need to bridge the gap between expectations and reality, that is, for example, between the unrealistic notion that governments should fund more infrastructure while at the same time cutting taxes, reducing debt, avoiding asset sales and opposing the application of user charges,” the report quotes IA as saying.
What are the key priorities beyond the Cleveland Solution?
The report goes on to recommend the following project priorities for SEQ and their estimated cost for the next five years:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Derailment in Badulla

The “Podimenike”  express train from Colombo derailed at the Badulla railway station this evening when it was moving to the yard after de-training passengers. The train ground to a halt obstructing the level crossing on the Badulla–Mudunpita road.

Traffic on the road came to a standstill for hours. Railway officials are taking steps to re-rail the train. A senior official of the Railway Control Room said the train service from Badulla to Colombo was subject to delay. (Prasad Rukmal)

Report pinpoints rail’s skills shortages for 2012

by Rail Express — last modified Jan 25, 2012 11:17 AM
— filed under: 
The industry’s chronic skills and labour shortages show no signs of abating with a number of occupations predicted to be in skill demand throughout 2012, according to a discussion paper released by the Transport and Logistics Skills Council (TLISC) that details key findings from its upcoming 2012 Environmental Scan.
Report pinpoints rail’s skills shortages for 2012
Courtesy RailGallery
According to TLISC’s discussion paper, the occupations across Australia’s rail industry that will be in skill demand in 2012 will be:
  • Train Drivers
  • Signalling technicians
  • Railway track workers
  • Team leader infrastructures
  • Track patrollers/inspectors
  • Rail trainers/assessors
  • Guards/conductors
  • Overhead wiring technicians
  • Civil specialists
The barriers to overcoming rail’s skills and labour shortages as identified by the discussion paper are:
  • Loss of experienced and skilled workers due to competition from the resources sector
  • Increased demand for employment due to new rail projects coming on line
  • Ageing workforce
  • Electrification of rail impacting on skill requirements
  • Complex legislative and regulatory frameworks
TLISC general manager, strategy and policy, Amanda Thomas, emphasised that workforce ageing will continue to be a significant barrier to maintaining an appropriately skilled workforce within the rail sector.
On a positive note, the discussion paper also identified solutions to the rail industry’s skills and labour shortages as well as potential sources of labour, including:
  • Employment of workers from non-traditional sources of the labour market – including part-time and recent migrants who possess transferable skills
  •  Utilisation of the rural and remote labour force
  • Promoting the rail sector as a career path at school and community levels
  • Increasing training as a recruitment and retention tool
  • Expanding the numbers of trainers and assessors to provide flow-on impacts at the business level.
TLISC released the discussion paper to provide stakeholders with the key findings from the 2012 Environmental Scan (E-Scan) industry consultation process prior to publication of the E-Scan in February.
The 2012 E-Scan process highlights the challenges and opportunities impacting Australia’s entire transport and logistics industry, as well as detailing key findings relating to skills and labour shortages in the Logistics Management, Road Transport and Warehousing; Aviation; Maritime; Rail and Ports sectors.
Interested stakeholders are invited to provide comment on any of the findings Monday 30th January 2012.
Email: Leanne.Mundy@tlisc.org.au
For further information contact:
Amanda Thomas
Email: amanda.thomas@tlisc.org.au
Phone: (02) 6163 7227
Leanne Mundy
Email: leanne.mundy@tlisc.org.au
Phone: (02) 6163 7209

TLISC's E-Scan will be available for download as of February at: www.tlisc.com.au

Sunday, January 29, 2012

‘Getambe Jones’ and the lost Railway halt

Gyan C. A. Fernando is back on track with his adventures as an archaeologist
I suppose, as usual, it all started off in my childhood. As a youngster, amongst other things, I wanted to be an explorer. At that time explorers were celebrities. One of the famous, some might say notorious, explorer-archaeologist was Howard Carter. Carter discovered and plundered the late boy-King Tutankhamen’s pyramid.
Then there was Hiram Bingham who “discovered” and plundered the “Lost City” of Macchu Picchu in Peru and is now immortalised in having a touristy and expensive train named after him, the train that runs from Cuzco to Aguas Caliente in Peru.
I suppose all this information is wasted on the new generation of Harrison Ford- “Indiana Jones” worshippers. Apart from exploring and discovering, Indiana Jones got into good fights and saved a lot of maidens, mostly of the daft, blond blue-eyed type.
There is a lot of romance in being an explorer-archaeologist as I soon found out.
How to become an archaeologist
It is actually not too difficult to become an archaeologist and “discover” something “ancient”. One of the pre-requisites of becoming an archaeologist is to be able to leave common sense behind. A vivid imagination is mandatory.
‘I stood up in the bucket and struck a regal pose, like some minor conqueror in an obscure corner of Asia Minor surveying his ill-gotten territory. As intended, this attracted a small crowd.’ Sketch by K. Senthilkumaran
Some years ago, British Archies from a well-known Uni announced the discovery of an “Early Man” Homo-Something-or-the-other and this was full page news in The Times (of London) and included a two-column six inches worth of an artist’s impression of the beast.
The Times, which is a rather staid old newspaper, even used colour which it normally is quite miserly about.
All this ballyhoo was based solely on the discovery of a 2x1.5 inch fragment of a bone helped by loads of Hollywood type imagination!
Have hat, will dig!
Recently, I discovered that I possessed most of the prerequisites for becoming an Archie.
Apart from the above named attributes, I have or own the following:
1. A pair of dust-covered, heavy duty, walking shoes with impressive logo (impervious to snake bite but with a small crack in the upper of the left one).
2. A grey, slightly unkempt beard giving me an eccentric professorial appearance.
3. An“Indiana Jones” type hat.
One of the rules of this game is to set about discovering something that is easy to discover and then hype it. There is no point wasting time and energy trying to discover the lost continent of Atlantis, for example, which is probably too big and difficult to dig out anyway. So I decided to set my sights on something more manageable.
Being retired and at a loose end, I decided one morning that I should set about trying to discover The Lost Railway Halt of Getambe (near Kandy).
David Hyatt, the author of “Railways of Sri Lanka”, has compiled a list of railway halts complete with their distances from Colombo and accurate to the last chain. Most of these are now either obscure or have disappeared altogether over time.
One of them is The Lost Railway Halt of Getambe (LRHG).
Miles and Chains
I happen to live near Getambe. The available information in David’s meticulously prepared list indicated that The Lost Railway Halt of Getambe should be exactly at 72:62 from Colombo. That is, 72 miles and 62 Chains from the Colombo Terminus.
The first complication was the Imperial measurements of Miles and Chains. The second was that the Sri Lankan Railway, then the CGR, measured distances from the now totally forgotten Colombo Terminus station. The third problem was that I was never good at numbers!
The thought of having to measure off 72 miles and 62 chains from Colombo initially put me off but then I realised that the halts on either side of The Lost Railway Halt of Getambe are still there. One was Rajawatte at 71:77 and the other Randles Hill at 73:41 and therefore the LRH of Getambe should be somewhere in between.“Eureka!! I shouted.
Unlike other Archies I decided to carry out a “full site survey”. I first set off from Randles Hill Halt, complete with the Indiana Jones hat and a small back pack, in the direction of Peradeniya, on foot and along the railway line. (Instead of walking along the rail track I could have taken a three-wheeler along the road but I believed in being meticulous in my research.)
To be on the safe side I carried a powerful torch although it was daytime. Officially, you need a licence to carry a gun in Sri Lanka. I hadn’t. So unlike Indiana Jones I could not afford to get mixed up with any bad guys. There were no blond blue-eyed girls either.
Having surveyed the line up to the Getambe level crossing, which took me all of 15 mins, I had a cup of tea with Jayasena. Jayasena is “my man” who mans the Getambe level crossing. He is a pleasant, youngish bloke and has a railway pedigree. There was no point in asking him about the LRHG, however. He was too young to have known it, but he did recommend old Jayantha Aiya, the local self-appointed sage and ex-gateman, who normally frequents the Coca-Cola shack near the crossing. Jayantha Aiya was not there that day but I made a mental note to interview him at a later date.
I then walked on to the Rajawatte Halt. I got back home in time for a beer and lunch. Some of the mileposts were lying on their sides but eventually, with considerable mathematical effort, I worked out that the LRH of Getambe must be at the Getambe level crossing.
Look at the evidence: Distance from Colombo to LRHG is 72:62, Colombo to Rajawatte is 71:77, and Colombo to Randles Hill is 73:41. There are 80 chains to the mile. Therefore the distance from Randles Hill to the LRHG must be 59 chains. A quarter mile is 20 chains so 59 chains are nearly ¾ miles. The distance from Peradeniya Junction to Getambe level crossing is 1¾ mile if one is to believe the mile post lying on its side and so…Oh never mind!
The Getambe level crossing is recent but definitely pre-Rajapaksa. My research indicated that it was from the Era of the Ancient President Premadasa. The story, that at one time a large amount of gold was stored there, was pure invention on my part to motivate the diggers (see later).I correctly deducted that, in building the new Kandy-Peradeniya Road and the level crossing, the LRHG had been covered with landfill just as the Great Pyramids of Giza were at one time covered with sand.
The diggers roll in!
After having appointed myself as the Professor of Railway Archaeology, I appointed rail gateman Jayasena as my assistant and Associate Prof.of R. Arch. It is easy to be a Professor. You just need to be full of your own importance.
Normally, archaeologists do not use heavy earth-moving equipment in their digs except when they are looting a site. However, there happened to be a JCB “backhoe” and other equipment already at the site busily not reconstructing the road like they should have been doing. After a little bit of persuasion, the JCB operator agreed to dig a bit.
First, I got into the bucket of the JCB and asked the operator to hoist me aloft to survey the site. I stood up in the bucket and struck a regal pose, like some minor conqueror in an obscure corner of Asia Minor surveying his ill-gotten territory. As intended, this attracted a small crowd. I do not believe in hiding my talents under a bushel!
As the excavation got underway, passing trains slowed down to offer passengers a tantalising glimpse of the imminent historical find. Even three-wheeler drivers slowed down to watch the excavation. I shouted out commands imperiously.
Once things got into full swing, I left Jayasena, the Level Crossing Gateman cum Associate Professor of R. Arch,in charge of the dig. I then retired to the air-conditioned comfort of the nearby Royal Mall Pub to conduct further research. Professors generally do that.
It did not take long for my assistant, Assoc. Prof Jayasena, to come running to me. I was on my second beer. He was excited and jumping up and down! I waved my hand to calm him down. In situations like this, one needs to maintain an air of nonchalance to show off one’s superiority! They had just unearthed the remains of the platform! This was good news indeed! I drained my beer and with an enigmatic smile playing on my face I strode purposefully to the site, with Jayasena yapping away and following me like a puppy. The sun was high in the sky, it was hot and it reminded me of Cairo and Luxor.
There were shouts of “Jayawewa!” from the crowd. The crowd parted for me as I strode in but I was rather taken aback to see that Jayantha Aiya was already there and holding forth about his days as the Gateman cum virtual General Manager of the CGR. I do not like competition. After all, this was my brainchild. I re-acquired centre stage by the simple process of stepping on Jayantha Aiya’s barefooted toes with my heavy snake-proof boots. I brooked no nonsense. He was a snake!
This illustrates the importance of wearing heavy boots whilst excavating an archaeological site.
Getambe brick
The actual “find” was striking and consisted of a quarter of a brick measuring an impressive 20cm x15cm x10 cm. Closer inspection revealed a barely visible marking which I worked out to be part of the letter “R”. This indeed was a great find! We had discovered the platform of the LRHG! The letter R was part of the inscription “CGR” or Ceylon Government Railway. The fact that, apart from this brick, we found little else did not unduly bother me. Archaeologists and Palaeontologists have built up entire civilisations based solely on the discovery of fragments of pottery or bone much smaller than our “Getambe Brick”.
A sizeable throng had gathered by now and two Police officers, who happened to be idly passing by, took on the job of crowd control. I nodded my approval patronisingly. With gloved hands I then carefully, slowly and impressively placed the Getambe brick in a clear polythene bag and labelled it in full view of the gathered public. I also took several photographs of it to impress the gathered crowd. The Police held back the crowd and blew their whistles.
I noticed that there were a few comely lasses in the crowd who were pushing forwards and making eyes at me. They will have to wait. I have work to do!“This is no time for gallivanting!”, I said sternly to myself!
I sent off an immediate, terse, SMS message to the General Manager of the Sri Lanka Railway: “Have found Getambe. Re-schedule trains! Organise Press Conference”.
Call the National Geographic!
I do not allow success to go to my head. There was more work to be done! First, we had to open a cheap souvenir shop cum tea shack at the site. I left Associate Prof/ Rail gateman Jayasena in charge of that, whilst I proceeded to send off urgent e-mails to the British Museum, the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution.
As I write this, excavation work is still going on, which so far has unearthed two rusty railway spikes and a bearing plate. Jayasena has started selling cheap t-shirts printed with our LRHG logo and I have packed my bags in readiness for embarking on a lecture tour of America, Europe and Japan………..As soon as I get replies to my e-mails.
I hear that President Rajapaksa wants to meet me and congratulate me personally. I am afraid I will have to keep him waiting for some time!
On a serious note
The Getambe Railway Halt did exist at one time. The actual location is opposite the present day Kandy Courts Complex (and a short distance from the Getambe level crossing). There is no obvious trace of the halt.
The railway line from Peradeniya to Kandy runs through a busy road corridor and should be opened up for more stopping trains to take the congestion off the two main roads. Although plans are afoot to double track this stretch of railroad, funds are yet to be allocated and it is hoped that the Minister in charge of Railways would expedite matters.
This stretch of railroad is ideal for running short, stopping trains or rail buses like a metro system and one day could be upgraded to form the Kandy metro system. Double tracking is mandatory to allow express trains to travel unhindered.

Bombardier research shows high-speed trains are viable on Sweden's rail network

27 January 2012

Bombardier Regina
A group of Swedish researchers, supported by Bombardier, have found that new-generation trains with higher speeds, lower energy consumption, reduced noise and lower costs can run on the existing track network.
The four-year Grona Taget ('green train') research project was undertaken by four partners including Bombardier Transport to collect ideas, proposals and technical solutions aimed at making long distance and fast regional services more attractive to travellers and operators in Sweden.
Gröna Tåget is a fast electric tilting train, based on the Bombardier Regina vehicle that can run at a higher speed than conventional trains on sections with curves. The 300km/h train is equipped with components of the new Bombardier ECO4 technologies that maximise total train performance and energy-efficient operation, the company claimed.
The project was conducted in close cooperation between the Swedish Transport Administration, Bombardier, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and several other partners. The report noted that the concept train had set a Swedish speed record of 303km/h, but stated the development programme was not a finished train model.
Bombardier said the concept offers operators and infrastructure managers flexible train length, reliability and accessibility in the harsh climatic conditions in Nordic countries. The trains can be designed with greater width than existing trains, allowing more passenger space and aerodynamic design, while more efficient motors enable the train to reduce power consumption by 30-35%.
The Gröna Tåget technology has been tested in trial runs over 500,000km of track in all weather conditions over the past six years.
Caption: Gröna Tåget is a high-speed electric tilting train, based on the Bombardier Regina vehicle, which can run at 300 km/h. Credit: Bombardier.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

vidusara1.jpg (14529 bytes)

"කනත්ත වෙත පීලිගත කර තිබූ" දුම්රිය සේවය
නිසි මඟට ගැනීමට භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනයට හැකි ද? 

දුම්රිය මගින් භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය කිරීම පිළිබඳ පුවත් කිහිපයක්‌ අපට පසුගිය මාස කිහිපය තුළ අසන්නට ලැබිණි. පාඩු ලබමින් ඇති දුම්රිය සේවය පිළිබඳව ඇති මේ පුවත් ගැන අවධානය යොමු කරන්නට අපට සිතුණේ භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය මේ අර්බුදයෙන් යම් තරමකින් හෝ ගොඩ එන්නට ඇති එක්‌ මඟක්‌ ලෙස පෙනෙන නිසා ය.

අපේ රටේ දුම්රිය ගමනාගමනය ආරම්භ කරන ලද්දේ භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහන අවශ්‍යතාව මුල් කරගෙන බව පැවසුවොත් එය නිවැරැදි ය. අපේ රටේ දුම්රිය ප්‍රවාහනය පිළිබඳ කතාව 1845 දී පමණ ආරම්භ වුවත් දුම්රිය ධාවනය ආරම්භ වන්නේ 1864-65 දී පමණ ය. එවක මෙරට පාලනය කළ බ්‍රිතාන්‍යයන් විසින් මෙරට දුම්රිය මාර්ග ඉදි කරන ලද්දේ මෙරට නිෂ්පාදනය කරනු ලබන ද්‍රව්‍ය පහසුවෙන් කොළඹ පිහිටි වරාය වෙත රැගෙන ඒම සඳහා ය. නම් වශයෙන් පවසන්නේ නම් ඒ කෝපි වගාව හා සම්බන්ධව ය. පසුව තේ ද, වෙනත් වැවිලි හා වෙනත් ද්‍රව්‍ය ප්‍රවාහනය සඳහා ද දුම්රිය විශාල ලෙස භාවිත විය.

දුම්රිය මඟින් අතීතයේ දී ප්‍රවාහනය කරන ලද ද්‍රව්‍ය පිළිබඳ අදහසක්‌ ලබා ගැනීමට ඇතැම් දුම්රිය පාලන වාර්තාවලින් හැකි ය. ඒවාට අනුව දුම්රිය මඟින් සහල්, වී, තිරිඟු පිටි, තෙල්, පොහොර, සිමෙන්ති, ගෘහභාණ්‌ඩ, දැව, දර හා ලුණු ද වැනි විවිධ ද්‍රව්‍ය ප්‍රවාහනය කර තිබේ. මේ ආකාරයෙන් දුම්රිය මඟින් ප්‍රවාහනය කරන ලද ද්‍රව්‍ය අතර මාළු හා අලුත් එළවළු හා පලතුරු වැනි ද්‍රව්‍ය ද වීම වැදගත් ය. නිදසුනක්‌ ලෙස ගත හොත් 1957 වර්ෂයේ දී අලූත් එළවළු හා පලතුරු ටොන් 14107ක්‌ දුම්රිය මඟින් ප්‍රවාහනය කර තිබේ.

එක්‌ කාලයක දුම්රිය සේවය ලංකාවේ ප්‍රධානතම භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහන මාධ්‍යයක්‌ විය. එහෙත් මහා මාර්ග ප්‍රවාහනය වර්ධනය වීමත් සමඟ දුම්රිය මඟිsන් භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය කිරීම පිළිබඳව තිබූ අවධානය ක්‍රමයෙන් අඩු වී ගියේ ය. ඊට මූලික හේතුව වූයේ වාහන මඟින් භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය සමඟ ඇති වූ තරගයෙන් දුම්රිය පරාජයට පත් වීමයි. ඇතැම් විට දුම්රියෙන් භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය ලාභදායක නො වූ අවස්‌ථා ද විය. කෙසේ වෙතත් දුම්රිය මඟින් භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනයේ දැකිය හැකි වූ ප්‍රධාන අඩුපාඩු කිහිපයක්‌ විය. ඉන් ප්‍රධානතම ගැටලුවක්‌ ලෙස පෙන්වා දෙනු ලබන්නේ ප්‍රමාදයයි. එහෙත් 1957 තරම් ඈත කාලයේ දී දුම්රිය දෙපාර්තමේන්තු පාලන වාර්තාව දක්‌වන පරිදි ප්‍රවාහනය කරනු ලබන බඩු තොග අතරින් 69%ක්‌ පමණ අදාළ දිනයේ හෝ ඊට පසු දින නියමිත ස්‌ථානවලට ගෙන ගොස්‌ තිබේ. මේ අනුව ඉක්‌මනින් නරක්‌ නො වන ආහාර ද්‍රව්‍ය ප්‍රවාහනය සඳහා දුම්රිය යොදාගැනීම යෝග්‍ය ය. මීට බලපා ඇති තවත් කරුණක්‌ නම් සේවයේ පැවැති ගුණාත්මක තත්ත්වයයි.

භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනයේ වර්තමාන තත්ත්වය

මේ ආදි වූ හේතු නිසා දුම්රියට මහා මාර්ග ප්‍රවාහනයෙන් එල්ල වූ තරගයට මුහුණ දීමට නොහැකි විය. එහි ප්‍රතිඵලය වූයේ දුම්රිය මඟින් සිදු කරන භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය අඩු වීමයි. ලංකාවේ සමස්‌ත භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනයෙන් දුම්රිය මඟින් ප්‍රවාහනය කර ඇති ප්‍රමාණය 1982 වර්ෂයේ දී 21%ක්‌ පමණ විය. එහෙත් 1989 වන විට එය 8% දක්‌වාත්, 1995 වන විට 4% දක්‌වාත් පහළ වැටිණි. වරින් වර උච්ඡාවචන තිබුණ ද 2007-2009 අතර කාලයේ දී එය 1% දක්‌වා පහළ ගියේය. එහෙත් එය 2010 දී 2% දක්‌වා ඉහළ ගොස්‌ තිබේ. 2001-2010 කාලය තුළ දුම්රිය හා සම්බන්ධ දත්ත ඇතුළත් වගුව දෙස විමසිල්ලෙන් බැලීමේ දී ද මේ බව පෙනේ.

2010 වර්ෂයේ දී භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනයේ මෙවැනි වර්ධනයක්‌ ඇති වීමට එක්‌ හේතුව වූයේ තෙල් ප්‍රවාහනය සඳහා දුම්රිය මාර්ග යළිත් වැඩි වශයෙන් භාවිතයට ගැනීම බව මහ බැංකු වාර්තාව (2010) සඳහන් කරයි. ඒ වර්ෂයේ දී භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහන කිලෝමීටර් ප්‍රමාණය සියයට 44කින් ඉහළ ගොස්‌ තිබේ. මේ තත්ත්වය 2010 වර්ෂයේ දී මෙහෙයුම් අලාභය 33.5%කින් අඩු වීම සඳහා හේතුවක්‌ වූ බව පෙන්වා දී ඇත. එසේ ම මෑත කාලයේ දී ශ්‍රී ලංකා දුම්රිය සේවයේ වාර්ෂික ආදායමට වඩා සංඛ්‍යාත්මකව අඩු වූ මෙහෙයුම් අලාභයක්‌ ඇති එක ම වර්ෂය 2010 බව ද පෙනේ. දුම්රිය මෙහෙයුම් වියදම අඩු වීම ද ඊට හේතු වී ඇත. තව ද 2009 හා 2010 වර්ෂ සංසන්දනය කරන විට මගී කිලෝමීටර් ප්‍රමාණය අඩු වී තිබිය දී භාණ්‌ඩ කිලෝමීටර් ප්‍රමාණය වර්ධනය වීම වැදගත් කරුණකි. (වෙරළබඩ දුම්රිය මාර්ගය අලුත්වැඩියාව සඳහා වසා තැබීම මගී කිලෝමීටර් ප්‍රමාණය අඩු වීමට ප්‍රධාන හේතුව විය).

2010 දී පමණක්‌ නො ව මේ ආකාරයෙන් භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය ඉහළ ගිය වෙනත් අවස්‌ථාවල දී ද දුම්රිය ආදායම ඉහළ ගොස්‌ තිබේ. 2002 දී සිදු වූ ආදායම් වර්ධනයට එක්‌ හේතුවක්‌ වූයේ මේ බව ද වාර්තාවල සඳහන් වේ. මේ අනුව භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය කෙරේ අවධානය යොමු කළ යුතු බව පෙනේ.

ප්‍රවාහනය කළ හැකි භාණ්‌ඩ

ලෝකයේ රටවල් රැසක දුම්රිය මඟින් සිදු කරනු ලබන භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය ඉහළ තත්ත්වයක පවතී. එය පහසු එකක්‌ වන සේ ම ලාභදායක ද වේ. එසේ ම වෙනත් බොහෝ ප්‍රතිලාභ ද මෙහි ඇත. එමෙන් ම එය මහාමාර්ග ප්‍රවාහනයට වඩා පාරිසරික වශයෙන් ද යහපත් ප්‍රවාහන මාධ්‍යයකි. ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ දුම්රිය පිළිබඳව සවිස්‌තරාත්මක කෘතියක්‌ සම්පාදනය කරන ඩේවිඩ් හයට්‌ 2000 දී පවසන්නේ භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනයේ ලාබදායක ප්‍රමාණයක්‌ අත්පත් කර ගැනීමේ ඇති වැදගත්කම ගැන ය.

මේ ගැන අපේ දුම්රිය සේවයේ අවධානය ද මෑත කාලයේ දී යොමු විය. මේ අන්දමට දුම්රිය මඟින් භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය කිරීම විධිමත් කිරීම සඳහා දුම්රිය ගැල් අලුත්වැඩියා කිරීමේ වැඩපොළක්‌ 2009 වර්ෂයේ දී ආරම්භ කරන ලදි. 2010 මහින්ද චින්තනයේ සඳහන් වන පරිදි "බහාලුම් ප්‍රවාහනය සඳහා දුම්රිය අංගනයක්‌ ඉදි කරන අතර, භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය දුම්රිය සේවයේ ප්‍රමුඛ අරමුණක්‌ බවට පත් කෙරෙනු ඇත." මෙය දැන් සිදු වෙමින් ඇති බව පෙනේ.

මේ සඳහා යහපත් ආදර්ශයක්‌ ආණ්‌ඩුවේ ආයතනවලට ම ලබා දිය හැකි ය. නිදසුනක්‌ ලෙස තෙල් සංස්‌ථාව මෙන් සෙසු ආයතනවලට ද දුම්රිය ප්‍රවාහනය පිළිබඳව යළිත් අවධානය යොමු කළ හැකි ය. අතීතයේ දුම්රිය මඟින් භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය කළ එක්‌ ප්‍රධාන ආයතනයක්‌ වූයේ ද ආහාර දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවයි. අද zලක්‌ සතොස්‌ වැනි රාජ්‍ය ආයතනවලට ද මේ ප්‍රවාහන මාධ්‍යය කෙරේ අවධානය යොමු කළ හැකි ය.

එසේ ම මේ සඳහා පෞද්ගලික අංශය ආකර්ෂණය කරගත හැකි ය. භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනයට යොදා ගන්නා දුම්රිය ගැල් පෞද්ගලික අංශයට කුලියටදී"ම සඳහා දැනටමත් යම් යම් පියවර ගෙන ඇති බව පෙනේ. භාණ්‌ඩ ප්‍රවාහනය සඳහා අය කරන මුදල දැනටමත් තරගකාරී එකක්‌ බව දුම්රිය සේවයේ වෙබ් අඩවිය පරීක්‌ෂා කිරීමේ දී පෙනේ. තමන්ට ප්‍රවාහනය කළ යුතු ද්‍රව්‍ය වර්ගය හා දුර අනුව අය කරනු ලබන ගාස්‌තුව මේ වෙබ් අඩවිය ඔස්‌සේ අයකුට ගණනය කරගත හැකි ය. (www.railway.gov.lk) මේ ගාස්‌තුව නියම ගාස්‌තුව යෑයි අපි සිතමු. ඊට අනුව බොහෝ භාණ්‌ඩ සඳහා මාර්ග ප්‍රවාහනයට වඩා දුම්රිය මඟින් ප්‍රවාහනය ලාබදායක බව පෙනේ.

බහාලුම් හෙවත් කන්ටේනර් ප්‍රවාහනය කිරීම සඳහා දුම්රිය යොදාගැනීමට ඇති හැකියාව කලක්‌ තිස්‌සේ සාකච්ඡාවට ලක්‌ වූවකි. ඒ පිළිබඳ කටයුතු 1980 දශකයේ දී ආරම්භ වුවත් එය ඉදිරියට ගියේ නැත. මේ සම්බන්ධ උත්සාහයක්‌ 2010 වර්ෂයේ දී ගත් බවක්‌ අපි දුටුවෙමු. ඒ හමුදාවට අයත් බහාලුම් ප්‍රවාහනය සඳහා දුම්රිය යොදාගත් අවස්‌ථාවකි. මෙය ප්‍රවාහන අමාත්‍යාංශ වෙබ් අඩවියේ තවමත් ඇතුළත් පුවතකි (www.transport.gov.lk). ඉන් අනතුරුව දුම්රිය හා වරාය අතර ඇති අතීත සම්බන්ධය යළි අලුත් කරමින් වරායේ සිට බහාලුම් ප්‍රවාහනය කිරිමේ කටයුතු පසුගිය වර්ෂයේ දී ආරම්භ කරන ලදි. ඒ අනුව වරායේ සිට කන්ටේනර් ප්‍රවාහනය කිරීම පෞද්ගලික සමාගමක්‌ විසින් 2011 ජුනි මාසයේ දී ආරම්භ කරන ලදි.

කන්ටේනර් ප්‍රවාහනය සම්බන්ධ පුවත් වාර්තාවක සඳහන් වූ පරිදි එක්‌ දුම්රියක්‌ මඟින් අඩි 20 ප්‍රමාණයේ බහාලූම් 20-24ක්‌ පමණ ප්‍රවාහනය කළ හැකි ය. එසේ නම් බහාලුම් ප්‍රවාහනය සඳහා දුම්රිය යොදාගැනීම මහා මාර්ගවල දැකිය හැකි වාහන තදබදය අඩු කර ගැනීම සඳහා ඉතා යෝග්‍ය වේ. (මේ මාර්ග තදබදය අඩු කර ගැනීම සඳහා සවස 4-7 අතර කාලයේ දී කන්ටේනර් මහාමාර්ගයට එක්‌ වීම වැළැක්‌වීමට ගත් තීරණයක්‌ නිසා අවාසනාවකට මෙන් මාස කිහිපයකට පෙර බහාලුම් මෙහෙයවන්නන් ගේ වර්ජනයක්‌ ද ඇති විය). කෙසේ වෙතත් දුම්රිය බහාලුම් ප්‍රවාහනයට ගත් පියවර සාධනීය එකක්‌ බවත් එය තවදුරටත් වර්ධනය කළ යුතු බවත් පැවසිය යුතු ය. එය පරිසරයට ද හිතකාමී වේ.

දුම්රිය සඳහා වෙනත් ආදායම්

දුම්රිය සේවයේ ආදායම් උත්පාදනය සඳහා යොදාගත හැකි තවත් මාර්ග රැසක්‌ තිබේ. මේ හා සම්බන්ධව මහින්ද චින්තනය (2010) පවසන ඉලක්‌කය වැදගත් ය. එහි 43 පිටුවේ සඳහන් වන පරිදි "දුම්රිය ඉඩකඩම් හා දේපොළ සංවර්ධනය කොට දුම්රිය ආදායම 25%කින් ඉහළ නංවා ගැනීමේ අරමුණු" බව පැවසේ.

අතීතයේ පටන් ම දුම්රිය ඉඩම් වෙනත් කටයුතු සඳහා ලබා දීම සිදු කරන ලදි. නිදසුනක්‌ ලෙස දුම්රිය ගමනාගමනයට බාධාවක්‌ නො වන ලෙස විවිධ වගා කටයුතු සඳහා ඉඩම් ලබා දීම දැක්‌විය හැකි ය. මේ පිළිබඳව ද දැන් අවධානය යොමු වී ඇති බවක්‌ අපට කියවීමට ලැබුණු පුවත් වාර්තා අනුව පෙනේ. එසේ ම වෙළෙඳ ප්‍රචාරණය සඳහා දුම්රිය යොදාගැනීම ද වර්ධනය කළ හැකි ය. එය වසර කිහිපයකට පෙර දැකිය හැකි වුවත් මේ වන විට එය එතරම් සිදු වන බවක්‌ දැකිය නොහැකි ය.

මහින්ද චින්තනයේ පැවසෙන පරිදි දුම්රියේ මේ වෙනස්‌කම් සිදු කරනු ලබන්නේ "රාජ්‍ය ආදායම ද රාජ්‍ය දේපොළ ද සුරක්‍ෂිත වන ආකාරයට" ය. (පිටුව 43). අද දවසේ අවශ්‍යතාව මෙයයි. දුම්රිය යනු අපේ රටේ වැදගත් ම රාජ්‍ය සේවාවක්‌ වන අතර එය පාඩු ලැබීමට හේතුවක්‌ වන්නේ ද මේ ආකාරයෙන් සේවා සැලැස්‌වීම අරමුණු කරගෙන තිබීම ය. ඒ නිසා දුම්රිය තවදුරටත් සේවාවක්‌ ලෙස පවත්වාගෙන යන අතර ම එහි ආදායම ඉහළ නැංවීම කළ යුතු ව තිබේ. පෞද්ගලික අංශයේ දායකත්වය මේ සඳහා අවශ්‍ය වේ. එහෙත් එය දුම්රිය හෝ දුම්රිය මාර්ග හෝ පෞද්ගලිකකරණයක්‌ නො වන අයුරින් විය යුතු ය. (දුම්රිය පෞද්ගලිකකරණය කිරීමට අතීතයේ යම් යම් ප්‍රයත්න තිබූ බව අප අමතක නො කළ යුතු ය).

මහින්ද චින්තනයේ ම සඳහන් පරිදි "කනත්ත වෙත පීලිගත කොට තිබූ දුම්රිය සේවාව ක්‌ෂේම භූමියක්‌ කරා කැඳවාගෙන ඒමට හැකි වීම" තිරසර වන්නේ එවිට ය.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Narrow Gauge Railways Back in Action in Sri Lanka

After fully converting the KV line to broad gauge in 1993, yet again narrow gauge railways will be back in action in the Dayata Kirula 2012 in Oyamaduwa from 4th of February 2012. Already 750 m track work and three stations have been completed. Recently restored rolling stock of two locomotives (no 530 and 732) and two carriages were brought in to the site by road from Dematagoda to Oyamaduwa. The initial trial runs of this train was also very successful and general public especially local and foreign  rail fans will have the rare opportunity go on a train ride of a narrow gauge train in Sri Lankan soil after nearly 20 years. Hon. Minister for transport Mr. Kumara Welgama and General Manager of Railways Mr. B.A.P Ariyaratne were spearheading this massive and historical project. Locomotive Foreman Mr. Sanath Wickramarate and his team in Shop 26 undertook most of the works of this project to restore Loco no 530 and to build two carriages and Locomotive Foreman Mr. Lalantha Fernando of Shop 19 and his team were involved in to restore Loco No 732.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Krishna unveils rail project in SL


India’s external affairs minister SM Krishna on Thursday unveiled the first phase of a railway project in southern Sri Lanka that is being built with financial aid from the Indian government.   Krishna, on a four-day visit to this island nation since Monday, launched the 50km rail track from Galle to Induruwa at a function at the Galle railway station, 116 km from Colombo.

The first phase of the project comprising the 42-km Galle-Matara section was completed in February 2011.

The project, being executed by the state-run Indian Railways Construction International Ltd (Ircon), involves reconstruction of rail lines, training of personnel from Sri Lankan Railways in India, procurement of rolling stock and building of maintenance sheds.

The second phase of the current project from this coastal city to Kaluthara, covering 72 km, is set to be completed in April.

During his first visit to Sri Lanka in November 2010 as minister, Krishna launched the construction of a rail project in the Tamil-dominated region of the country, with part funding by New Delhi ($800 million).

The project on the Pallai-Kankesanthurai railway line in Jaffna is to be completed by 2013.

“The Indian government is committed to work with the Sri Lankan government for consolidation of peace, prosperity and development of this country and enrichment of our bilateral ties,” Krishna said on the occasion.

Sri Lankan foreign minister GL Peiris, Transport Minister Kumar Welgama, his deputy Rohan Dissanayake, Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha and Sri Lanka's envoy to India Prasad Kariyawasa were present on the occasion. (Times of India)