Monday, December 19, 2011
The Southern Expressway – What if provision had been made for a single line Electrified Rail Network leading eventually to Kataragama via Hambantota.
Just ponder! As part of the whole project to build an Expressway something that will just add to the air and noise pollution with fossil fuel burning vehicles, would it not have been visionary to have ensured at least a one line high speed rail network, preferably electrified, that would go to Kataragama in 90 minutes. Rail on a new line built from scratch can be designed for much higher speeds that vehicles.
This will also satisfy the environmental lobby. Four stops along the way including Galle, Matara and Hambantota will reduce current road traffic to all places up to and including Kataragama. Our rail network has been purposely left to decay in favor of road transport, which we now know has been one huge mistake. There have been no concrete steps to improve it except the rebuilding of the line to KKS, which I hope will be done so as to severely shorten the time at least from Anuradhapura to Jaffna.
The problem yet again in SL is that there are few if any who think outside the box and for the RDA to think in terms of anything other than roads was unthinkable. So we spent a colossal amount on a project that is only going to encourage those who have quality cars to make use of them on their way to town up to Hambantota, when the road is finally extended that far in a few years. Now that the Govt. is bent on finishing of the aptly named Mattala Airport, the muts should have thought of liking it directly to a high speed rail network to get to Colombo. Technically a passenger can get to Colombo faster from Mattala than from Katunayaka if the rail network from there was outstanding.
We must never forget that we are a small country in land extent. That is a huge advantage in many ways. I know that we can easily cover the whole country with cellular use which a vast country like the US cannot! We can therefore take maximum advantage of our size to make our travelling from A to B all the more convenient and safe by proper planning. Despite the doubling or tripling of vehicles into the country, which will one day block Colombo in a horrific traffic snarl up, where motorists will be stranded. We have not thought ahead from there. We are waiting for the crisis and we may then consider taking steps to spend a further 10 years trying to solve that problem AFTER we get to it.
It is important to plan. It is not a problem to predict our population and our living standards and make a proper accounting of it so that our citizens quality of life will in fact be enhanced rather than deteriorate under the current directions.