Sri Lanka will sign agreements shortly with an Indian and a Chinese company to restore a section of the war-damaged northern railway line from Omanthai to Kankesanthurai.

The reconstruction of the 152km Omanthai-Kankesanthurai section will be carried out in two stages at a total cost of nearly $430m, the railway’s general manager has said.

Work on the first 96km section from Omanthai to Pallai will be carried out by the Indian firm Ircon and on the remaining 56km by China Railway Number Five Group.

The project will be funded by a $185m loan from the Indian Government and another $245m loan from the Chinese Government.

The project is expected to be finished within the next 30 months.

Services on most of the northern railway line have been at a standstill for the last 30 years.