Sri Lanka train tours or train travel, while slower is more comfortable. The trains are the most cheapest, safe and enjoyable traveling method in Sri Lanka. From the Colombo Fort which is the central railway station travelers can take their trains to different destinations. You can take trains to most of the important places in the Sri Lanka.

History of the Sri Lanka Railway
Sri Lanka Railways, or Ceylon Government Railway, was conceived in the 1850’s as an instrument to develop and unify the country. The 1st sod of the Sri Lanka Railways was cut by Sir Henry Ward, the Governor, in August in1858. The Railway Network was introduced by the British in 1864 and 1st train ran on 27th December 1864, with the construction of the Main Line from Colombo to Ambepussa, 54 kilometers to the east. This line was officially opened for traffic on 02nd October 1865. The Railway extended and developed it’s network and in 1927, a total route length of 1530 km was in operation. The Main Line was extended in stages, with service to Kandy in 1867, to Nawalapitiya in 1874, to Nanu-Oya in 1885, to Bandarawela in 1894, and to Badulla in 1924. Other lines were completed in due course to link the other parts of the country, the Matale Line in 1880, the Coast Line in 1895, the Northern Line in 1905, the Mannar Line in 1914, the Kelani Valley Line in 1919, the Puttalam Line in 1926, and the Batticaloa and Trincomalee Lines in 1928.

The Railway was initially built to transport coffee and tea from the hill country to Colombo for export and was for many years, the main source of income. With population growth, however, passenger traffic increased and in the 1960’s overtook freight as the main source of business. The Railway is now primarily engaged in the transport of passengers, especially commuters to and from Colombo, offering a vital service and reducing road congestion.

Train names in Sri Lanka
A number of long distance trains were named by CGR (Ceylon Government Railway).
Regular Services:
• Udarata Menike (Upcountry Maiden) – Runs between Colombo Fort and Badulla
• Podi Menike (Little Maiden) – Connects Colombo Fort and Badulla (no longer runs via Kandy, only through coaches to Kandy)
• Tikiri Menike (Little Maiden) – Colombo Fort to Hatton
• Senkadagala Menike (Maiden of “Senkadagala”– area name) – Runs between Colombo Fort and Kandy
• Yal Devi (Princess/Queen of Jaffna) – Was operated between Colombo Fort and Kankasanthurei via Jaffna (now only up to Thandikulam)
• Udaya Devi (Princess/Queen of the Rise -East) – Runs between Colombo Fort and Batticaloa
• Rajarata Rajina (Queen of the land of kings) – Runs between Vavuniya and Matara via Colombo Fort
• Ruhunu Kumari (Princess of “Ruhuna” – southern province) – Between Colombo (Maradana) and Matara
• Samudra Devi (Queen of the Oceans) – Colombo (Maradana) to Galle
• Galu Kumari (Princess of Galle) – Colombo (Maradana) to Matara
• Sagarika (Name of Ocean in Sinhala Language) – Colombo (Maradana) to Galle
• Muthu Kumari (Princess of Pearls) – Operates between Panadura and Chilaw

Special Trains in Sri Lanka:
• Viceroy Special – Colombo to Badulla (Tourist train powered by steam)
• Bradby Express – Colombo to Kandy (for the Kandy leg of the annual Bradby Shield Encounter)

Trains have several classes :
» 1st class sleeper: 1st class sleeping-berths are available on a few overnight trains.

» 1st class observation car: Available on the best daytime trains on the scenic route from Colombo to Kandy and Badulla. The observation car is normally at the rear of the train (or sometimes behind the locomotive) and has comfortable armchairs facing a large window looking back along the track. Seats must be reserved before departure. The 1st class observation car is highly recommended.

» 1st class air-conditioned seats car: Only available on one or two trains.

» 2nd class seats: Available on all trains. These come in several versions, depending on the train:
(1) Unreserved seats, where you buy a ticket, hop on and sit in any available seat,
(2) Reserved seats where you must make a reservation and you get an allocated seat,
(3) Reserved ‘sleeperette’ reclining seats which are available on most overnight trains. 2nd class seats are the recommended option on trains with no 1st class.

» 3rd class seats: Available on most of the trains. These come in several versions, depending on the train: unreserved seats, reserved seats, and reserved ‘sleeperette’ reclining seats. 3rd class is very basic and gets very crowded, and it is not generally recommended for visitors.

Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka
1. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Main Line – Colombo to Badulla

The railway network, which began operating in 1864, comprises nine lines radiating from Colombo, the most beautiful of which runs deep into the hills, traveling via Kandy and Nuwara Eliya before terminating in Badulla. This journey offers spectacular hill-country views as the train winds its way past gushing waterfalls and through neatly-clipped tea estates.



Station Name Distance (Mile)
From Colombo Fort  
Kelaniya 3
Hunupitiya 5
Ragama 9
Gampaha 16
Meerigama 30
Ambepussa 34
Polgahawela 45
Rambukkana 52
Kadugannawa 65
Peradiniya (Junction) 70
Kandy 73
Gampola 78
Ulapane 82
Nawalapitiya 87
Watawala 100
Rosella 103
Kotagala 111
Thalawakele 115
Watagoda 120
Nanu Oya 128
Ambewela 137
Pattipola 139
Ohiya 143
Haputale 153
Diyatalawa 156
Bandarawela 160
Ella 168
Demodara 171
Hali – Ela 177
Badulla 181

2. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Matale Line from Peradeniya junction to Kandy and Matale

The Matale Line branches off the Main Line at Peradeniya Junction, near the world-famous Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. It connects to Kandy, home of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, which houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha, before descending to Matale.

Station Name Distance (Mile)
The Line from Peradiniya Junction  
katugastota 10
Wattegama 14
Ukuwela 20
Matale 24

3. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Coast Line– Colombo Secretariat halt to Matara via Galle – extension of the track up to Hambantota and Kataragama is currently under construction.

The Coast Line (Southern Line) runs south from Colombo, following the edge of the Indian Ocean. It offers passengers views of tropical beaches and coconut palms.


Mount Lavinia8Payagala South31

Station Name Distance (Mile)
The Line From Colombo Fort  
Colombo Fort
Slave Island 2
Kollupitiya 3
Bambalapitiya 4
Wellawatta 5
Dehiwala 7
Agulana 11
Lunawa 12
Moratuwa 13
Panadura 17
Wadduwa 21
Kalutara North 26
Kalutara South 27
Beruwela 35
Aluthgama 38
Induruwa 41
Kosgoda 45
Balapitiya 49
Ambalangoda 52
Hikkaduwa 60
Dodanduwa 64
Gintota 68
Galle 71
Talpe 78
Ahangama 84
Weligama 89
Kamburugamuwa 95
Matara 98

4. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Northern Line

Polgahawela to Kankesanturei deviates from the Main Line at Polgahawela junction – presently operating only up to Omanthai, track was abandoned beyond Vavuniya due to war but extended service up to Omanthei on May 2011 after the end of civil war. Reconstruction began in March 2009 to re-extend track up to Kankesanthurai.


Maho Junction40Vauniya112

Station Name Distance (Mile)
The Line From Polgahawela Junction  
Polgawela Junction
Pothuhara 8
Kurunegala 14
Wellawaya 20
Ganewatta 27
Nagollagama 35
Ambanpola 48
Galagamuwa 54
Thambuththegama 66
Talawa 72
Sawasthripura 77
Anuradhapura 82
Parasagahawewa 90
Medawachchiya Juction 98
Puliyankulam 127
Mankulam 141
Kilinochchi 160
Paranthan 163
Chundikkulam Lagoon
Elephant Pass
Palalli 177
Kodikamamam 186
Chawakachcheri 191
Navankuli 196
Uppu Aru Lagoon
Jaffna 201
Kokkuvil 203
Kondawil 204
Chunnakam 206
Kankasanthurei 212

5. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Batticaloa Line- separates from the Northern Line at Maho junction and extends up to Batticaloa via Polonnaruwa

The Batticaloa Line branches eastward from the Northern Line at Maho, to Polonnaruwa, site of an ancient capital in the 11th century and home to many historic monuments. The line continues to the eastern city of Batticaloa.

Galoya Junction55

Station Name Distance (Mile)
The Line from Mahoo Junction  
Mahoo Junction
Moragollagama 14
Kalawewa 26
Kekirawa 31
Palugaswewa 41
Hinguraggoda 66
Polonnaruwa 76
Manampitiya 82

6. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Tricomalee Line- separates from the Batticaloaline at Gal-oya junction in the to Trincomalee.

Station Name Distance (Mile)
The Line from Gal Oya Junction  
Gal Oya Junction
Kanthalai 19
Thampalakamam 30
China Bay 40
Trincomalee 44

7. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Puttalam Line – Colombo to Puttalam – deviates from the Main Line at Ragama.



Station Name Distance (Mile)
The Line from Ragama Junaction  
Ragama Junction
Ja-Ella 4
Seduwa 8
Katunayake 11
Kurana 12
Negombo 15
Kochchikade 18
Belawatta 21
Nattandiya 29
Madampe 35
Bangadeniya 47
Mundai 58
Palavi 71
Puttlama 74
Noor Nagar

8. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Mannar Line (Earlier Indo-Lanka Line) Madawachchi to Talaimannar – Divides from Northern Line at Madawachchi junction


Station Name Distance (Mile)
The Line from Medawachchiya Junction  
Medawachchiya Junction
Wedichikulama 13
Madhu Road 27
Murunkan 35
Gulf of Mannar
Mannar 49
Talaimannar 64

9. Train Tour Routes in Sri Lanka – Kelani Valley Line (originally narrow gauge) – Colombo to Yatiyantota – presently operating only up to Avissawella, the track beyond Avissawella was abandoned in 1940. Broad gauged up to Avissawella in 1997



Station Name Distance (Mile)
The Line from Colombo Fort  
Baseline Road
Cotta Road
Narahenpita 3
Maharagama 9
Kottawa 12
Homagama 15
Meegoda 18
Padukka 22
Waga 28
Kosgama 31
Awissawella 37