The new intercity express train service ‘Pulasthi’ from Colombo Fort to Polonnaruwa commenced its daily run yesterday (11), with President Maithripala Sirisena onboard for a portion of the train’s maiden voyage.
The S-13 Grade train was supplied to Sri Lanka Railways by the Gurgaon-based M/s RITES Ltd., under an Indian Line of Credit.
Sirisena accompanied other dignitaries including Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, State Minister Ashoka Abeysinghe and Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Sandhu up to the Maradana railway station.
A statement from the Indian High Commission in Colombo, the train is equipped with “best-in-class passenger amenities” with fully rotating seats in the air-conditioned Chair Cars and an on-board entertainment system and modular interiors.
Pulasthi is scheduled to leave Fort Railway Station at 3.00 pm and reach Polonnaruwa by 7.45 pm, and will resume its journey from Polonnaruwa to Fort at 3.45 am and reach Fort Railway Station by 9.06 am.
The new express train will stop at Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Mahawa, Kekirawa, Habarana and Hingurakgoda stations.
A press release from the President’s Media Division said that no special train service has been in operation between Colombo Fort and Polonnaruwa (Sirisena’s hometown and electorate) in recent decades, and the new service was as an intervention by the President to meet the shortfall.