Railway Sleepers

Asia and Trains offer the traveler cheap distances coverage and unforgettable experience. Using train to journey across the eastern continent is sometimes challenging but good preparation and tips from the pros make it possible. One of these trip has become very popular in Sri Lanka. Helped by the fantastic website www.seat61.com, we decided to travel from Colombo to Nanuoya in “Tea Country”.

The Colombo Fort Station is a busy hub in the centre of the capital and trains make their way to the coastal south, Northern Jaffna and across the east toward Kandy.

Colombo Fort Station

We had managed to get some 1st class observation deck tickets for our journey to ensure that we would have both seats and space to enjoy the ride

1st class observation (no A/C)

No A/C was a blessing… it meant that windows could be lifted, doors would be left wide opened for us to take pictures and memories throughout the seven hours trip. As we leave busy Colombo, we cross path with roadways vehicles stopping as we pass by or get along countryside roads filled with colourful three wheelers.

The first two hours of our journey eastward shows us flatland alternating rice fields and cattle. We stop for either a station or a mechanical problem (stuck brakes in this instance!)

The train officer is the last one on board after a “brake check” stop!

We will not go to Kandy, the train will instead reverse to a junction to go south up the mountainous region. Green slopes soon replace fields and the train slows down to account for the track old age and less than optimal condition.

Lower speed allows to relax and ride the train in unusual positions. This is a one track only and we sometimes need to wait in station for another convoy to complete its journey between two stops.

waiting for the track ahead to be free!

Five hours in our trip and the tea plantation have replaced the entangled greeneries of the jungle… we are getting close to our final destination…

No regrets in taking an almost full day in a train carriage. Traveling by rail was much more entertaining than a taxi ride and the landscapes are breathtaking. I recommend anyone visiting Sri Lanka to do it!