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IESL MESC holds Eng. B.D. Rampala memorial oration on Modernized Railway

21 Nov 2016 11:12 AM | IESL (Administrator)

Title:​IESL MESC holds Eng. B.D. Rampala memorial oration on Modernized Railway

Date: ​​16/11/2016

Topic: ​​Modernized Railway- Answer to Sri Lanka’s Transit Needs 

Presenter: ​Eng./ Plnr. Nihal Somaweera, Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation ( IESL Profile: )

Participants:  ​​165  


IESL Mechanical Engineering Sectional Committee (MESC) organized its annual Eng. B.D. Rampala memorial oration under a timely topic, “Modernized Railway- Answer to Sri Lanka’s Transit Needs”. 

The presenter was Eng./Plnr. Nihal Somaweera who is currently serving as the Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation. Even on a gloomy, rainy evening, IESL Wimalasurendra auditorium was full with all sectors of the society and it was heartwarming to see many young engineers and some children as they are the ones who should get inspired by role models like Eng. B D Rampala.

Delivering the welcome speech, President of the IESL Eng. Jayawilal Meegoda  emphasized the reasons for IESL celebrating Eng. Ramapala's service to the nation with an annual memorial lecture and the importance of his charismatic leadership and service to be known among generations to come. Eng. Meegoda further elaborated Eng. Rampala's legendary professional career at then Ceylon Government Railways ( CGR ) as the Chief Mechanical Engineer and at the age of 45 as the General Manager of Railways (GMR), a position he was to hold for 14 years.  He was the first Sri Lankan to hold this nationally important position. 

Eng./ Plnr Nihal Somaweera, the memorial oration presenter was introduced to the audience by the president. The President said that  Eng. Somaweera is a Fellow of IESL (Profile: and has over 35 years experience in the public sector and is the right speaker on the topic presented since he is the Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.  

At the end of welcome speech of the president, audience were presented with a documentary video created by a group of  engineers from Sri Lanka Railways on Eng. B.D. Rampala's contribution to Sri Lankan railway sector. 

Eng. Somaweera started his oration by explaining the modernization of suburban railway transport in Rampala era. Dieselization of locomotive fleet, introduction of diesel hydraulic power coaches, establishment of colour light signalling system and introduction of centralized traffic control for suburban areas to highlight a few of his monumental initiatives. Further, Eng. Somaweera explained present status of public transportation in Sri Lanka. Issues related to Trade Union's actions and political influences in recruitment and season ticket discounts were mentions as major drawback in the railway sector according to the presenter's view. Railway electrification, improving tracks, signalling and railway stations as well as introducing multi-model hubs were explained by him as upcoming interventions projects.   

Eng. Arjuna Manamperi, Chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Sectional Committee (MESC) delivered  the vote of thanks speech. He extended his sincere thanks to Rampala family for gracing this occasion. 

In addition, Eng. Manamperi specifically named and acknowledged those who extended their invaluable support to create the promotional video clip on Eng. B.D. Rampala's contribution to Sri Lankan railway sector, authors who wrote public articles to news papers promoting the event     


English - Eng.Sunil Rajapakshe - Railway

Tamil translation - Eng.Kokulananthan - Railway
Tamil edit - Eng. Thivakaran Mahalingam

Sinhala 01 - Mr. Nilupul Wickramage - Railway
Sinhala 02 - Eng. Asela Pathirathna - Railway

IESL Secretariat staff, engineers and other staff in the railway sector, university lecturers, past presidents and council members of IESL, eminent professionals from various fields and number of associate and corporate members of the institution who took part at the memorial lecture to appreciate Eng. B.D. Rampala's engineering service to the nation. 

Full Lecture Video

Video team
Eng. Kasun Wijesundara - Railway
Eng. Nalin Bandara - Railway
Eng. Vajira Siriwardhana - Railway
Eng. Prathapa Ariyasena - Railway

Video visual
Eng. P A B Ariyarathna - General Manager Railway
Eng. M J D Fernando - Chief Engineer ( Motive Power)
Mr. Ranjith Dissanayake - Author THE GOLDEN ERA OF B.D RAMPALA

Event photo gallery Click

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