Train travel is one the primary modes of transport in Sri Lanka and a key part of Sri Lanka’s public transport system. It is one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to travel around the country. The train journeys are real cultural experiences.
Sri Lanka is known for having one of the world’s most scenic train rides – the famous train route between Kandy and Ella, passing through stunning landscapes of lush tea plantations, sweeping jungles, picturesque hills and cascading waterfalls. It is one of the most beautiful train trips in the world.
Three Main Rail Lines in Sri Lanka
South Rail Line:A scenic train route that runs south, by the coast from Colombo, through Hikkaduwa, Galle, Mirissa, to Matara.
East Rail Line:A beautiful train route through the green and lush jungle, mountain and tea plantation landscape to the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. It goes from Colombo to Kandy, Hatton (Adam’s Peak), Nanu Oya (Nuwara Eliya), Ella and ends in Badulla.
North Rail Line:Runs from Colombo, through Anuradhapura to Mannar, and all the way north to Jaffna. One branch reaches Trincomalee on the east coast, while another serves Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa.
Other Lines:The Puttalam line runs along the coast north from Colombo. Passengers will need to take rail buses between Chilaw and Puttalam. The Kelani Valley line runs inland and east from Colombo to Avissawella.
The Different Classes of Trains
First Class Observation Saloon:Provides a full view of the scenery and is usually at the rear of the train, but occasionally behind the locomotive. It has comfortable cushioned seats and numbered seating. Not air-conditioned, but the windows can open, ideal for viewing and photography.
First Class Air-conditioned:Has comfortable cushioned seats and numbered seating. Windows cannot be opened. Service is offered only on some routes.
First Class Sleeper:Carries sleeping berths and is available on a few overnight trains.
Second Class:Four seats per row, has overhead fans and the option to open the windows.
Third Class:Six seats per row, no fans, but the windows usually remain wide open. The most popular choice for the locals.
Choose the right class for your comfort and remember, first class tickets must be purchased in advance.