20 trains delayed; 3 cancelled; the dispute cost 1 million.-Video
Police say that assaulting railway engine drivers is a serious offence and legal action will be taken against perpetrators at any time.
Police Media Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that accordingly, two passengers who allegedly assaulted an engine driver at the Alawwa Railway Station this morning have been arrested.
Passengers staged a demonstration at the Alawwa Railway station this morning alleging that the office train was delayed this morning.
Train services on the main line came to a standstill after protestors blocked the railway tracks with sleepers.
Railway Control stated that the Maho Colombo office train was delayed by 20 minutes when it reaching Alawwa this morning, and some passengers pelted stones at the train as well as its engine driver as the train reached the Station.
Meanwhile a tense situation erupted when UPFA North Western Provincial Councilor Sumith Rajapakse arrived at the scene to talk to protesters.
Protesters also obstructed journalists who were covering the incident at Alawwa.
The protesters gave up the protest after Railway Transport Superintendent L.A.R. Rathnayake arrived at the Station and promised the protesters to run the Maho Colombo office train on the scheduled time.
The injured driver was hospitalized and the Maho train was run to Colombo Fort by another driver.
When the train arrived at Maradana Railway Station at 11.00am, a tense situation was erupted again as heated words were exchanged between passengers and railway officials.
Several passengers said that a group of railway workers assaulted a group of passengers at after the Maho train arrived at Maradana Station.
Later Maradana police intervened to settle the commotion between railway workers and passengers. However acting on the railway workers’ complaint, police arrested two passengers.
Meanwhile Railway Engine Drivers Association Secretary K.A. U. Konthasinghe told our news team that his Association thoroughly condemned the assault on engine drivers.
The Train Control stated that about 20 trains including long distance services got delayed and three trains were cancelled consequent to the protest incident.
Meanwhile Train Transport Superintendent L.A.R. Rathnayake told our news team that all services have returned to normal and safety of the engine drivers has also assured.
However Railway Authorities had to cancel all bookings for luxury services due to the train delay this morning.
A senior officer of the Railway Department said that a loss of one million rupees was incurred due to the incident today.