State-run institutions are in a mess today mainly because of political interference, which prevents experienced and professionally qualified public servants from carrying out their duties. The Railway Department, once popularly known as Ceylon Government Railway (CGR), ran efficiently and provided a better service. The carriages were clean. The railway stations were maintained well with flower gardens and the Station Master was in full white uniform with cap. I remember an incident where an engine driver refused to accept the ‘Tablet’ from a Station Master who was not in uniform. Most of all the trains operated according to time tables and the track was maintained well with regular re-sleepering and rerailing of bad stretches.
One name to be mentioned is B.D. Rampala, the General Manager cum disciplinarian. If the Railway Department becomes a state-owned authority, it will go from bad to worse, as evident from other state-owned ventures.
The solution is to allow knowledgeable public servants to run the show and adjust the train fares to meet expenditure.
G. A. D.Sirimal