Colombo: Sri Lanka`s first fast train,
built with Indian assistance today had a troubled start with
the inaugural run delayed and a local dignitary refusing to
deliver his speech due to `inauspicious` planetary position.
The train started over an hour late from the coastal
town of Galle as Transport Minister Kumar Welgame was late in
arriving at the venue, an official who declined to be named
He said the minister also refused to make the speech
at Galle because the planetary position at that time was
inauspicious, but later made a speech when the train arrived
at its destination, Matara, 42 kilometres away.
Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha was at hand for
the launch of the railway line built with a USD 167 million
credit line from New Delhi.
The aim was to ensure that trains could reach speeds
of 100 kmph compared to the current average of 40.
The train took 38 minutes to cover 42 kilometre
stretch from Galle to Matara.
Engines imported from India to be used on the
newly-laid line were not ready by Wednesday and the
authorities used a Chinese locomotive instead.
Sri Lankan trains are notorious for going late.
They also over crowded and are poorly maintained.