The Secretary of the Railway Engine Drivers Association Indika Dodangoda said that around 10 train services had been deployed today (20).
Accordingly, the train services from Kandy, Rambukkana, Mahawa, Chilaw, Galle and Matara to Colombo had been operational.
The railway strike based on several demands is currently in operation. Due to the strike, the Colombo Fort and several other railway stations are deserted.
The Sri Lanka Railway Locomotive Engine Operators Unions decided to launch a 48-hour strike action from midnight on 19th demanding the rectification of their salary anomalies and several other demands.
However, they called off the strike on the promise that a discussion with the minister was to be held. However, by last evening, due to the talks with the minister being unsuccessful, several railway unions notified the media that a 48-hour strike was being launched from midnight yesterday.
However, although the strike was scheduled to be launched from midnight yesterday, since afternoon the train services were affected much to the inconvenience of commuters.
A tense situation arose at the Colombo Fort railway station last night when it was notified that there was no driver to operate the train service from Colombo Fort to Ambepussa.
However, one train driver volunteered to operate the train to its destination.
When the general public had protested against the railway workers who launched the strike, they had behaved in a very deplorable manner.
A photograph amply displaying this situation was published by Lake House photographer Sulochana Gamage on his FB page.
The photograph is shown below.
How can we go by bus without a cent in hand?
When we contacted Sulochana Gamage, he said that there were many heart wrenching stories far worse than the photograph at the Fort railway station yesterday.
He said around 8.35 last night two university students had come to the Fort railway station to get back to their homes, not knowing about the train strike. They did not have any money in hand and only had their train season tickets to get back home. These two helpless students were in tears at the station unable to get back home.
One student had called her mother and said she had no money in hand to get back home. Sulochana had heard het crying to her mother that she had no cash in hand to come home and neither enough money to get back to the hostel.
Sulochana had approached the students and offered them cash to get back home and had told them he was from the media.
The train commuters at the station had heard this story and had been cursing the railway workers who had launched this sudden strike inconveniencing many such commuters.