Owing to a shortage of train spare parts, the Railway Department has been compelled to cancel at least 14 train journeys each day, leaving commuters stranded.
General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Station Masters’ Union (SLSMU) Kasun Chamara said train compartments and engines, abandoned over the years are now in operation, but they are not up to standard.
He added that in comparison to these compartments that were imported without standards, the compartments imported in 1980 were suitable for running, but they have now been taken out of service and are not maintained.
“There is also a shortage of train lubricants, as well as a severe shortage of various spare parts for engines and carriages, and there is a question of whether the relevant railway administration officials will intervene promptly. The Railway Department should have 19,382 employees, but there are presently around 10,500,” he said.
Speaking further, he said vacancies at the department caused a significant impact on some sub-departments, and there is a major concern about whether the services in some sub-departments are properly provided.
He said, “It is a sad situation that despite the fact that we have continuously informed the relevant authorities that there are nearly 3,000 vacancies in the transport sub-department, which deals directly with railway passengers, no responsible officials have intervened.”
“The General Manager of Railways is successfully intervening for this purpose, but due to the failure of some sub-department heads and officers to fulfil the responsibilities assigned to them, we emphasise with responsibility that it is not possible to provide good service as expected by the General Manager of Railways. If the present crisis continues, and the parts needed for proper railway maintenance are not received promptly, more trains will be derailed due to railway defects in the future,” he added.
Further, he said due to a lack of spare parts, passengers will soon face the possibility of many train journeys being cancelled due to a lack of operational train sets in the future.
By Thameenah Razeek