Ircon International, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Indian Railways, has signed an agreement to upgrade the 130km-long railway line in Sri Lanka.

The line, which runs from Maho town in the Northwestern Province to Omanthai in the Northern Province, will be upgraded under Indian concessional financing.

The company signed the concessional agreement, valuing $91.26m, with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Overall, the upgrade works on the 100-year-old line include overhauling 12 crossing stations, seven halt stations and 78 level crossings.

Once complete, the modernisation will enable trains to run on the line at a maximum speed of 120kmph, double the current permissible level of 60kmph.

Additionally, it is expected to reduce maintenance costs on the line, boost passenger comfort and facilitate connectivity between Northwestern Province and Northern Province.

The agreement forms a part of India’s support for the development of the Sri Lankan railway sector.

To date, India has committed around $1.3bn to develop railways in the island country.

So far, India has upgraded nearly 300km of railway track in Sri Lanka and supported the installation of signalling and telecommunication systems.

In June 2017, India signed an agreement to provide $318m for rail development work in Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, the northern neighbour signed an $82.64m contract agreement last year to deliver 160 passenger coaches to Sri Lanka Railways.

The two countries also agreed to collaborate on capacity building for Sri Lankan railway personnel.