Thursday, February 6, 2014

Manitoba imported in 1956 pulled the train I came into Fort on Sunday!

Isn’t it amazing that the workhorses of the Sri Lankan Railway System are the 13 functioning (the fourteenth of the fourteen was destroyed by the LTTE) Canadian Diesel Engines (built by General Motors Canada from 1954 to 1966) imported as part of the Colombo Plan Aid Project?

The dead ducks appear to be the French Engines imported during the Chandrika Kumaratuga regime, at huge cost and the latest crop of ever failing engines from China. It must be stressed that we WILL NOT have a functioning Railway if not for these Canadian Engines.

I am sure the return on Investment, the productivity and millions of KMs driven and MOST IMPORTANTLY the RELIABILITY is beyond imaginable. I SALUTE the technicians and engineers who built these outstanding train engines, and also those within our Railways Department who strive to maintain them, in light of lack of spare parts, which result in them having to improvise, and especially manufacture spares to keep these giants of steel, all 80 Tonnes of them on the rails!! Who would have guessed that in 2014 they were still as good as new!

This is a tribute to the days, when bribes, commissions and personal glory were set aside in the NATIONAL INTEREST and the far sighted leaders of the ERA who determined that this was what we needed. NONE of them would have believed that they all (except for the one blown up by the LTTE) survive and thrive to this day to pull the main intercity trains of the day.

This is clear evidence if it was still needed, that bribery and corruption, on the scale of Norochcholai, and other Prestigious infrastructural projects result in WASTE pure and simple, with the Country having to pay a high price for the sins of their elected representatives who put SELF BEFORE COUNTRY and talk on the stage with the lie of COUNTRY BEFORE SELF!!

I took the overnight train from Gal Oya to Fort, having booked a third class sleeperette four days before travel, as all other bookable places including the births had been booked in advance. The train departed on time, and arrived in Fort on time, and the journey was smooth, and thanks to the wonderful purr of the engine, which I am sure an experienced trainspotter can identify, as to class and type of engine, was the Manitoba imported a year before I was born would likely be in service after I pass on!!