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Manitoba – A Symbol of Triumph Over Adversity

As Christmas Day comes to an end the Forum respectfully remembers the tragic events of 26th December 2004 and in particular the loss of M2a 591 ‘Manitoba’ with passenger train No.50 which was overcome by the Tsunami near Peraliya, Hikkaduwa.

We of course remember those who lost their lives or their loved-ones that day including driver Janaka Fernando and his assistant Loganathan Sivalingam.

We also pay tribute to the ordinary men and women who rushed from places of safety into terrible and hazardous circumstances to help those affected by the wave.

“I witnessed the tsunami and the days that followed, I remember no one asking who was Sinhalese or Tamil or Muslim or Burgher, everyone was simply a Sri Lankan doing what they could and sharing what they had without question. I knew then that this was not just a land like no other, this was also a people like no other.”

Manitoba after the Tsunami disaster
Manitoba now

And of course we pay tribute to the SLR workers whose skill and hard work brought this much-loved locomotive back to us. The Forum has said many times that the spirit of the Nation is often reflected in it’s railway and the rebirth of M2a 591 is testament to the pride and determination of the Sri Lanka people to fight and eventually win against whatever calamity man or nature throws against them. <3

This article was originally published on Sri Lanka Railway Foreigners’ Forum Facebook page.

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