Sri Lanka mulls shifting coastal rail track inland

ECONOMYNEXT – A plan to make Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo into a ‘megapolis’ of 9 million people by 2040 has suggested shifting an existing coastal railway track to create valuable unobstructed beachfront has been proposed.

The structure plan proposed a feasibility study to divert the railway track from Panadura, South of Colombo to Colombo Fort railway station and reserving land for a possible shift of the track.

"The feasibility study should include a cost-benefit analysis to justify the diversion as this proposal will greatly enhance the land value along the beachfront from Panadura to Galle Face, and will also allow free access to the beachfront without the railway," the report said.

In the Structure Plan, it is proposed that the corridor for the diversion of the railway inland be reserved to keep the option for diversion open.

At least one international firm is known to have expressed interest in reclaiming land beyond the rail track to create new beachfront. At the moment, Chinese state firms are reclaiming the so-called ‘Port City’ south of the Colombo harbhour. 

The megapolis plan has also proposed new railways for the Western province and Rapid Transit Lines within Colombo.

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