News1st trails the railway crisis and incident in Alawwa

News1st trails the railway crisis and incident in Alawwa

Written by Staff Writer

20 May, 2014 | 9:53 pm

Several office trains were delayed on Tuesday morning as a result of the continuing railways crisis.

Tuesday’s delays were prompted by an incident where a group of passengers allegedly attacked the engineer of the Mahawa – Colombo office train service in the morning.

The Railways Control Room noted that while delays did persist until about noon on Tuesday, normalcy was restored by mid-afternoon.

The Mahawa – Colombo office train which departed at dawn on Tuesday was about twenty minutes late when it reached the Polgahawela station.

The Department of Railways says that a group of passengers who were angered by the delay, had attempted to attack the engineer. While the train did proceed to the Alawwa station, the passengers expressed their frustration here too and a certain group had attacked the engineer.

While the engineer had brought the train to a stop and left the scene, passengers blocked the tracks and staged a demonstration over the delays in railway services.

While the police later intervened and attempted to have the train moved, the demonstrators did not permit it.They also obstructed journalists who were at the scene to cover the unfolding events.

Five office trains stopped at the Alawwa Station on Tuesday owing to the passengers protest.

The blockade which persisted for over two hours eventually ended after the Superintendent of Railway Operations L.A.R. Ratnayake arrived in Alawwa and held talks with the passengers.

The Railway Control Room says that about twenty services on the main and northern lines were cancelled owing to the demonstration. The Mahawa-Colombo office service eventually arrived at the Maradana station at 11:34 a.m;  four hours late.

A group of passengers had allegedly assaulted the engineer once again at the station. He had lodged a complaint with the Maradana Police.

The Police Media Spokesperson’s Office says that two persons were later arrested on suspicion of being involved in the incident. The engineer is currently being treated at the National Hospital in Colombo.

Accident Ward Director. Dr. Kapila Wickramanayake said that the engineer’s condition was not serious.

Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana says that if the Department of Railways requests security details, the police are prepared to provide such security.

However, he noted that security will be provided for the trains and not for individuals.

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