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Srilankan President Yal Devi Express flagged off from Palai after 25 years

Oct 13, 2014 11:30 IST

Srilankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 13 October 2014 flagged off Yal Devi Express from Palai after 25 years. The train will be extended to Jaffna.

The India Railway Construction International (IRCON) has now completed the restoration of the railway lines from Palai to Jaffna. IRCON is an Indian railway subsidiary.

The Jaffna railway station features many modern facilities including novel communication electronic signal system.

Currently, Yal Devi is running between Colombo and Palai. Four trains will be deployed from Jaffna to Colombo and Colombo Fort to Jaffna. The Yal Devi will cost 360 rupees for the 3rd class and 600 rupees for the 2nd class.

Background

The rebuilding of the track began in March 2011 and was carried out in stages. The work took a full three years, with workers on the 146-km (91-mile) single track.

The services of the trains to the northern peninsula of Jaffna ground was halted 25 years ago after dozens of passengers were killed in attacks by guerrillas seeking an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils.

The railway was ripped up to make bunkers after a truce between the Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces collapsed and fighting erupted in June 1990.

Reopening the railway was a priority to allow reconstruction materials to be brought into the area devastated by years of war and restore a key lifeline to Jaffna which is also the political capital of the Northern Province.

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