Sri Lanka is an amazing place to travel remarkably hassle-free with affable friendly atmosphere. Taking the train to get around is a great and inexpensive way because the train journeys are just comfortable and also you can experience the beautiful scenic routes during your journey. The country has a great railway network which is reliable and affordable. Travelling by train in Sri Lanka is also one of the best ways to see the country especially in hill country as you are able to watch the endless fields of tea plantations or any other plantations and greenery very huge mountains, waterfalls which will heal your mind.
Train Travel Sri Lanka is almost always more relaxed than a bus ride and also ticket prices are very low. Sri Lanka Railways runs government railways and trains are in good condition to travel. Although more expensive and less atmospheric than the 1st-class observation cars on Sri Lanka Railways, these private cars offer air-con and snacks and may have seats available when regular classes are already fully booked. You simply take your luggage with you onto the train and put it on the overhead racks above your seat. You can check train schedule and prices between any two stations at the official Sri Lanka Railway’s websites, railway.gov and slr.malindaprasad.
Sri Lankan train names are simple and unique which specialized to the category of women in ancient Sri Lanka. A number of long-distance trains were named by GCR (Ceylon Government Railway). Here is the list of main train names in Sri Lanka and their routes;
- Udarata Menike – Runs between Colombo Fort and Badulla
- Senkadagala Menike – Runs between Colombo Fort and Kandy
- Yal Devi – Was operated between Colombo Fort and Kankasanthurei via Jaffna
- Udaya Devi– Runs between Colombo Fort and Batticaloa
- Ruhunu Kumari – Between Colombo (Maradana) and Matara
- Samudra Devi – Colombo (Maradana) to Galle
- Galu Kumari – Colombo (Maradana) to Matara
- Sagarika – Colombo (Maradana) to Galle
The train trip Ella – Kandy, and Kandy – Ella is very popular, both among tourists and the locals, so you can buy tickets as soon as you enter Sri Lanka. You can buy tickets at any train station in Sri Lanka for the date you want. The train trip from Ella to Kandy in Sri Lanka, or the other way around, is considered to be one of the most beautiful train trips in the world. This train ride is seven hours long and takes you through stunning landscapes of green and lush tea plantations and mountain views. Make sure that you sit on the right side of the special observation carriage which will give you the best scenery, in Peradeniya your Train takes a right turn and starts the most incredible journey through the rolling hills covered with Tea estate after Tea estate. One could also take a nostalgic journey in a Steam Train, The Viceroy Special, to Kandy and experience the reminiscent of an era gone by.
There are three types of classes in Sri Lankan trains. They typically have reserved first-class, reserved or unreserved second class, unreserved third class. Not every train will have first-class carriages and the trains on the Colombo-Galle route only have unreserved carriages and do not have first-class carriages also.
First, Second and Third Classes
First-class carriages do not contain in every train, especially in Colombo-Galle route. It comes in three varieties as coaches, sleeping berths and observation saloons with larger windows. Second class has fewer facilities than first-class while third class has fewer facilities than the second. Like this accordingly ticket prices also vary with upgrading facilities, so first-class costs higher and third-class costs lower. First and second class have individual seats with more padding and there are fans while the third class has benches with little padding. Third class carriages accommodate as many as can squeeze in and conditions can be grim. Additionally, some trains contain air-conditioned carriages runs by private companies which are slightly more expensive than regular first class fares.
Reserved and Unreserved Seats
Unreserved seats cannot be booked in advance. Virtually all trains have unreserved cars. These are often crowded, whether you get a seat depends on whether you’re joining at the starting station or en route, and how busy that day or time is. Most of the times unserved carriages will be the third class. Tickets are only sold on the day at the stations, sometimes from only an hour before departure. When you get on the train, make sure you head to the unserved carriage if not ask someone for help to find it. You need to get on to the exactly relevant carriage because if you are in a wrong one you will be charged fines. If all seats are taken you stand, ideally wedged in an open doorway with a breeze wafting in and great views.
Many important longer-distance trains have a designated 2nd class reserved carriage and sometimes a 3rd class reserved carriage, in addition to the many unreserved carriages. Some trains have a 1st class carriage and 1st class seats are always reserved. If you want to reserve your seat in first, second or third class, you’ll need to book your train in advance. Tickets are available to book from 30 days before the departure. After reserving, your seat number will be printed on your ticket. Reservations can be made from the intercity counter. If it doesn’t exist you can make it from a normal counter. Both First and Second Class Reserved cars get sold out very quickly on certain scenic routes such as along the Kandy to Badulla line includes stops at Hatton, Adam’s Peak, Nuwara Eliya and Ella. Tickets for the reserved cars often sell out soon after booking opens, so it's a good idea to book tickets online in advance before you get to Sri Lanka.