After more than 23 years, direct train services between Colombo and Kilinochchi resumed its operations this morning with the opening of the newly completed 63-kilometer track between Omanthai and Kilinochchi.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the train service this morning at Omanthai travelling as the first passenger to Kilinochchi aboard the historic "Yal Devi" train which operated up to Omanthai earlier.
President Rajapaksa also declared open the newly built Kilinochchi Railway Station.
Sri Lanka Railways will operate three trains to Kilinochchi daily from tomorrow. The service will include the Yal Devi, the Deyata Kirula intercity train which ran up to Medawchchiya earlier and the night mail train from Colombo.
According to the schedule, the Yal Devi will leave Colombo Fort at 5.45 a.m. and reach the Kilinochchi station at 12.35 p.m.
The Deyata Kirula intercity train will leave the Colombo Fort station at 6.50 am and reach the Kilinochchi station at 11.48 pm.
The night mail train will leave the Colombo Fort station at 10.15pm and arrive at Kilinochchi at 4.10am (next day). On the return journey, the Yal Devi will leave the Kilinochchi station at 6 am and arrive at the Colombo Fort station at 1pm.
The Deyata Kirula intercity train will leave Kilinochchi at 2.18 pm and reach Colombo Fort at 7.16pm.
Meanwhile, the night mail train will leave the Kilinochchi station at 8.30 pm and arrive at Colombo Fort at 4.40 am (next day).
The journey from Colombo to Kilinochchi will take about five hours. The trains could travel at a speed of 120 km per hour.
The last passenger train on this line ran on January 19, 1985. LTTE terrorists bombed the Yal Devi train at Kokavil on that day killing 34 people and destroying the train tracks. The attack effectively ended the north-south rail transport.
Kilinochchi was the capital of the de facto state run by the LTTE. The Sri Lankan Army captured Kilinochchi in 2009.
The construction of the whole Northern Line up to Kankasanthurai would be completed by the end of 2014 and all the previous railway stations which were destroyed during the conflict are to be re-established, the Ministry of Transport says.