Phase 1 of the Colombo Suburban Railway Project (CSRP) involves track, signaling, and telecommunications renewals and electrification of the 64km Panadura - Colombo Fort - Veyangoda line, together with the procurement of a new fleet of EMUs and modernisation of stations and maintenance facilities. Fencing will also be installed to improve safety.

The project will significantly increase capacity on the busiest sections of the island's railway network and enable rail to build market share for trips into the city, which has remained stagnant in recent years at around 13%.

The Colombo Fort - Maradana is currently used by 228 trains carrying an average of 950 passengers per train, while the Coastal Line south of Colombo is also saturated with an average of 800-1100 passengers per train. Speeds are low by international standards, averaging just 28km/h on the Coastal Line and 33km/h on the Main Line. With the implementation of the CSRP, maximum line speeds would increase to 100km/h.

The Sri Lankan government has submitted a project loan application to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has already financed the study through a $1m technical assistance loan.