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How to prepare your train travel in Sri Lanka

Train travel in Sri Lanka

There are large number travellers especially foreign travellers, who love train travel in Sri Lanka.  Train travel in Sri Lanka is always adventurous, and if you have the correct class, it can be one of the most comfortable train trips in the region. If you are a kind of person, who enjoys travelling in trains during holidays, then you must try train a trip to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka train journey is not only a great way to save money during your Sri Lanka trip but also a very practical way to learn the life of Sri Lankans. Some people say dining table is the best place for the discussion, so is the train in Sri Lanka. You will encounter schoolchildren making the way to school, men and women commute to the office and many other people in different age group.  This is a great way to learn the life of average Sri Lankans and train travel in Sri Lanka open your holiday to a whole range of new experiences.

Sri Lanka railway online booking

You may find it a daunting task to book a fully-confirmed ticket as a newcomer. But, thanks to the new automated Sri Lanka railway online booking system, it has become considerably easier during the last several years. Unlike in most other countries, it is not difficult to find the correct route to your destination. And it is easy to make a sense of Scheduling of trains and availability of seats through the Sri Lanka railway online booking system.

Origin of Sri Lanka rail

Origin of Sri Lanka rail is going back to the first half of 1800’s. It was initiated by the British colonial rulers as a convenient method of transporting goods between Colombo and the mountains. Today, Sri Lanka railway is considerably developed and serves the country as a leading method of transporting goods and passengers. It has become one of the best transport methods with luxury, value for money and time-saving. The modern trains are designed to provide more comfort for the commuters. Especially the trains, which are on the long distant journeys, provide the best comfort and services. Train travel in Sri Lanka would definitely create some of the beautiful memories of your Sri Lanka tour.

Sri Lanka’s railway system may not as popular as most other transport methods on the island but it is very affordable, enjoyable and convenient if you use it in the right manner. Originated during the British rule in Sri Lanka (early 18’s), Sri Lanka’s railway network grown to be around 1560km covering a large part of the country. Around 4 million people are benefitted from the railway system of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka trains are most popular among the office workers and daily large number fo trains are scheduled to transport office workers and school children. More than 396 trains are in operation it provides the service approximately to about 4 million passengers. Trains are available on 67 long-distance journeys. The entire railway track of Sri Lanka is around 1560 km long and managed by Sri Lanka Railway department.

Choosing the destinations for train travel in Sri Lanka

Being an island Sri Lankan rail network is not as large and complex as most countries in the world. There are four major train routes in the island and all of them start in Colombo. Railway lines that go to southern Sri Lank and Northern Sri Lanka along the coastal belt are the busiest train routes in the island. Trains are very frequent on those routes and mostly used by local office crowd. Railway track that goes to the central mountain range and North-East direction are the two other major railway tracks but train with less frequency.

For most travellers, train travel in Sri Lanka is most enjoyable, when it goes in the direction of the central mountain range. Train travel in Sri Lanka along the coastal belt can also be interesting but a variation of beautiful scenery is very limited along the coastal belt.

Choosing the proper train and class for your train trips in Sri Lanka

The commuters often tell that the trains of SriLanka’s predilection for delays, in some cases late for hours!- it all testify to its efficiency and wonder. Choosing the correct trains for your train travel in Sri Lanka is critical to have enjoyable train trips in Sri Lanka.

The trains of Sri Lanka can be categorized into several categories. Express trains, known as intercity train or mail trains, available on long-haul destinations and connect most major cities. It has cars for all 3 classes of seats (1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class). These express trains provide compartment with air-conditioning and observation compartment too. Normal trains or slow trains take you to most places with frequent stops along the way. They have 3rd class cars while few of them have 2nds class cars as well.

Whatever the train you choose, you can have an interesting exchange with local travellers and you have the opportunity to try the local food on the railway platforms during your train trip in Sri Lanka. On the express trains, the vendors are marching from carriage to carriage with short eats and drinks during the journey. If you go to a faraway destination take an express train, that definitely save you lot of time. In the Sri Lankan train, there are three classes, first class, second class and third class.

First class is the most comfortable with Ac, Wi-Fi and comfortable seats and available on long distant tracks. Due to the high demand for first class tickets, it is advisable to book those tickets several weeks before the journey. If you want to buy tickets on the day of the journey, it will be subjected to the availability. Usually, you need to have a prior reservation for second class carriages as well. Third class tickets are the cheapest and can be obtained without a prior reservation.

Sri Lanka budget tours

Waitlist

When you make a booking in Sri Lanka for a train trip, there is no waitlist similar to India. If the seats are not available your request is declined or offered some other options. The booking can be done via the online system or through the mobile phones. If you can drop into the major railway station like Colombo, Kandy, you are able to reserve the seats through ticket counter.

Always bring your own toilet paper

Common toilet in trains usually in European style but they do not have toilet papers. often they dirty due to the lack of attention from the cleaners, so bring hand sanitizer. if you travel by air-conditioned compartment, the cleanliness is very high and the toilets are also in very good shape.

Sri Lanka railway network

Train travel in Sri Lanka from Colombo to Badulla

The train journey between Colombo and Badulla can be described as the most scenic Sri Lanka train journey available for travellers. Travellers are able to have an awe-inspiring train journey with “Udarata Menike” Express train. They can enjoy the mountains of the upcountry on this scenic Sri Lank train journey. The train goes through the valleys, mountain slopes and along the jagged rock faces. The train crosses the Mahaweli Ganga and many other leading rivers, you will trace the beautiful waterfalls arises due to the windswept plateaus of the mountains.  Be prepared to experience the lowest temperature in the country at the highest elevated region of Sri Lanka. Thanks to the engineers in the past, this Sri Lank train journey goes across the most difficult terrain in the country, it winds through the mountains, and sometimes the train is penetrating the mountain through the tunnels.

If you travel in the direction of Badulla, the latter half of the journey is full of mountains and the train is straight up on the steep mountains.  This is the most picturesque part of the journey and steepest railway line. You can have a glimpse of the misty hills and unique landscape dominated by mountains and escapement. They are covered with tea plantations, vegetable gardens and patches of forests; looks like the mountains are concealed by a green blanket.

You will see the Horton plains when the train rolls through the Pattipola Railway station. Pattipola is the highest elevated station in the country, which is more than 1800 meters above the sea level. Take time and enjoy the healing climate of the health resorts of Bandarawela and Nuwara Eliya. If you love to have some adventure holidays, Ella is the destination for you. The railway track ends in Badulla, which is another popular holiday destination among local people of Sri Lanka.

Train schedule Sri Lanka to Badulla from Colombo. Badulla is the last railway station on the upcountry railway track. all these trains are stopping at Kandy, Ella, Nanuoya and most other railway station along the way.

Your Station Arrival Time Departure Time Destination / Time End Station / Time Frequency Name Type
COLOMBO FORT 05:55:00 05:55:00 BADULLA   16:06:00 BADULLA   16:06:00 DAILY Podi Menike EXPRESS TRAIN
Available Classes: 1st Class ,  2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at BADULLA at 16:06:00 Train No:  1005

COLOMBO FORT 08:30:00 08:30:00 BADULLA   18:22:00 BADULLA   18:22:00 DAILY Udarata Menike EXPRESS TRAIN
Available Classes: 1st Class ,  2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at BADULLA at 18:22:00 Train No:  1015

COLOMBO FORT 09:45:00 09:45:00 BADULLA   19:17:00 BADULLA   19:17:00 DAILY 1007 EXPRESS TRAIN
Available Classes: 1st Class ,  2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at BADULLA at 19:17:00 Train No:  1007

COLOMBO FORT 20:00:00 20:00:00 BADULLA   07:10:00 BADULLA   07:10:00 DAILY Night Mail Night Mail Train
Available Classes: 1st Class ,  2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at BADULLA at 07:10:00 Train No:  1045

Sri Lanka railway ticket prices Colombo to Badulla

Class Name Price (Rs.)
2nd Class 450.00
3rd Class 285.00
Total Distance:  294.293 km

The new luxury Train travel in Sri Lanka between Ella and Kandy in 2018

A new luxury train is added to the fleet from March 2018 targeting leisure travellers in Sri Lanka. These 2 luxury trains are scheduled to ply between Kandy and Ella in the mountains. The railway track between Kandy Ella is considered to be the track for the most scenic rail journey in Sri Lanka and there is a huge demand for this rail journey. The trains will be available during the weekends. Each train has 4 compartments providing rooms for 264 passengers on the train. The ticket cost 1250Rs (USD 8 Approximately) from Ella to Kandy and the cost of the ticket from Kandy to Nanuoya (Nuwara Eliya) is 1000Rs (USD 6 Approximately).

Train travel in Sri Lanka from Colombo to Galle

This certainly a beautiful scenic route: the train, “Ruhunu Kumari “rolls along the borders of the Indian Ocean giving you the flashes of coastline. Take a look at the beautiful geographical formations along the coastal best such as coves, bays, sand dunes, and rock formations. enjoy the gentle breeze coming from the ocean.  You also have the opportunity to see the calm, serene countryside of the west and southern coast. Enjoy the low country vegetation. The isolated mountains that are formed by the geographical upheaval of the earth also make beautiful scenery along the way.

The train is the best way to travel between Colombo and Galle, which is hassle free, convenient, saves time and cheap. There are a large number of trains ply between two cities daily and provides service for thousands of commuters. Most trains available in the early hours and in the afternoon owing to the high demand. Most trains have 2 categories of compartments 3rd class compartment and 2nd class compartment. The journey lasts around 3 hours between Colombo and Galle with an express train. But the journey with a normal train might take as much as 5 hours.

Train schedule Sri Lanka to Galle from Badulla.

Your Station Arrival Time Departure Time Destination / Time End Station / Time Frequency Name Type
COLOMBO FORT 06:35:00 06:55:00 MATARA   10:42:00 GALLE   09:19:00 DAILY EXPRESS TRAIN
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at MATARA at 10:42:00 Train No:  8050

COLOMBO FORT 08:17:00 08:35:00 MATARA   11:50:00 GALLE   10:49:00 DAILY EXPRESS TRAIN
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at MATARA at 11:50:00 Train No:  8040

COLOMBO FORT 10:20:00 10:30:00 MATARA   13:47:00 GALLE   12:42:00 DAILY Rajarata Rajini COLOMBO COMMUTER
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at MATARA at 13:47:00 Train No:  8086

COLOMBO FORT 14:19:00 14:25:00 MATARA   17:48:00 GALLE   16:33:00 DAILY Galu Kumari COLOMBO COMMUTER
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at MATARA at 17:48:00 Train No:  8056

COLOMBO FORT 15:44:00 15:50:00 MATARA   18:20:00 GALLE   17:34:00 DAILY RUHUNU KUMARI EXPRESS TRAIN
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at MATARA at 18:20:00 Train No:  8058

COLOMBO FORT 16:44:00 16:46:00 MATARA   19:35:00 GALLE   18:45:00 NS,NSU SAGARIKA LONG DISTANCE
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at MATARA at 19:35:00 Train No:  8096

COLOMBO FORT 17:29:00 17:30:00 GALLE   20:10:00 GALLE   20:10:00 NS,NSU SAMUDRA DEVI LONG DISTANCE
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at GALLE at 20:10:00 Train No:  8760

COLOMBO FORT 17:34:00 17:35:00 GALLE   21:13:00 GALLE   21:13:00 NS,NSU COLOMBO COMMUTER
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at GALLE at 21:13:00 Train No:  8764

COLOMBO FORT 17:55:00 18:05:00 MATARA   21:38:00 GALLE   20:28:00 NS,NSU EXPRESS TRAIN
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at MATARA at 21:38:00 Train No:  8766

COLOMBO FORT 18:50:00 19:30:00 GALLE   22:58:00 GALLE   22:58:00 DAILY Night Mail Night Mail Train
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at GALLE at 22:58:00 Train No:  8775

Sri Lanka railway ticket prices Colombo to Galle

Class Name Price (Rs.)
2nd Class 180.00
3rd Class 100.00
Total Distance:  111.78 km

Train travel in Sri Lanka from Colombo to North Sri Lanka

This is the most controversial railway track for a Sri Lanka train journey. A great portion of the track was abandoned during the last 30 years, due to the civil war. Today this scenic Sri Lanka train journey is a very safe way to travel to the north of Sri Lanka and people are using the trains more often than other forms of transport such as land and air transportation. The track goes through the picturesque countryside, which is dominated by coconut plantations and paddy fields. Isolated forest patches make beautiful scenery along the way. The train starts in Colombo and roll into the interior of the country.  The train, which popularly known as “Yal Devi Express” takes you to the northern direction. Enjoy the fascinating wildlife of Habarana forest. You will be greeted by a large number of wild elephants as you travel through the reserve.

Train schedule Sri Lanka to Galle from Jaffna

Your Station Arrival Time Departure Time Destination / Time End Station / Time Frequency Name Type
COLOMBO FORT 05:35:00 05:45:00 KANKESANTHURAI   12:17:00 JAFFNA   11:51:00 DAILY A.C. – INTERCITY A.C. – INTERCITY
Available Classes: 1st Class ,  2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at KANKESANTHURAI at 12:17:00 Train No:  4021

COLOMBO FORT 06:17:00 06:35:00 KANKESANTHURAI   15:20:00 JAFFNA   14:37:00 DAILY YAL DEVI LONG DISTANCE
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at KANKESANTHURAI at 15:20:00 Train No:  4077

COLOMBO FORT 11:50:00 11:50:00 KANKESANTHURAI   18:47:00 JAFFNA   18:15:00 DAILY uttara devi A.C. – INTERCITY
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at KANKESANTHURAI at 18:47:00 Train No:  4017

COLOMBO FORT 13:45:00 14:00:00 JAFFNA   00:32:00 JAFFNA   00:32:00 04/05/2018 Pirith Special Special
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at JAFFNA at 00:32:00 Train No:  4000

COLOMBO FORT 20:30:00 20:30:00 KANKESANTHURAI   06:05:00 JAFFNA   05:10:00 DAILY Night Mail Train Night Mail Train
Available Classes: 2nd Class ,  3rd Class Train ends at KANKESANTHURAI at 06:05:00 Train No:  4089

Ticket Prices

Class Name Price (Rs.)
2nd Class 540.00
3rd Class 335.00
Total Distance:  397.8 km
Posted by

Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity tours)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka, I am trying to illuminate my readers with a wide range of information related to Sri Lanka travel. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, we can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka. Please contact us on info@seerendipitytours.com

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