Main Line (Sri Lanka)

Last updated

Main Line
Udarate Menike train on the Colombo-Badulla route.JPG
An intercity train, the Udarata Menike, runs through the scenic Sri Lankan hill country
Overview
Owner Sri Lanka Railways
Termini Colombo Fort
Badulla
Service
Type Intercity rail
System Sri Lanka Railways
Services Udarata Menike Express Train
Podi Menike Express Train
Tikiri Menike Express Train
Senkadagala Menike Express Train
Kandy Intercity Express Train
Operator(s) Sri Lanka Railways
History
Opened1864
Technical
Track gauge 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm)
Electrification No
Route map

Contents

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Badulla
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Hali Ela
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Uduwara
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Demodara Loop (Tunnel No. 42)
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Demodara
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Ella
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Kithal Ella
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Heel Oya
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Kinigama
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Bandarawela
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Diyatalawa
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Haputale
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Tangamale Sanctuary
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Idalgashinna
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Ohiya
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Tunnel No. 18 (Pattipola Tunnel)
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Summit 1898.1m above MSL
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Pattipola
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Ambewela
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Horton Plains National Park
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Parakramapura
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Closed Udapussellawa Line
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Nanu Oya
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Radella
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Great Western
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Watagoda
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Upper Kotmale Reservoir
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Thalawakele
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Kotagala
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Galkandawatta
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Tunnel No. 14 (Singha Malai Tunnel)
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Hatton
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Rozella
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Ihala Watawala
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Watawala
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Dekinda
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Galboda
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Penrose
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Inguruoya
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Hightenford
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Mahaweli Ganga
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Nawalapitiya
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Warakawa
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Pallegama
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Ulapane
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Warakapitiya
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Thembiligala
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Wallahagoda
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Gampola
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Kahatapitiya
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Gangathilaka
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Weligalla
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Polgaha Anga
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Gelioya
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Koshinna
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Nanu Oya
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Matale Line
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Peradeniya Junction
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Barammane
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Pilimatalawa
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Kadugannawa
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Tunnel No. 10 (Moragalla Tunnel) & 11
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Weralugolla
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Tunnel No. 9
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Balana
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Tunnel No. 6, 7 & 8
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Makehelwala
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Ihala Kotte
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Tunnel No. 5A (Meeyangalla Tunnel)
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Gangoda
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Tunnel No. 5
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Yatiwaldeinya
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Kadigamuwa
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Tunnel No. 2, 3 & 4
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Rambukkana
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Rambukkana Oya
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Yatagama
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Tismalpola
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Panaliya
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Northern Line
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Polgahawela Junction
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Walakumbura
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Alawwa
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Bujjomuwa
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Yattalgoda
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Maha Oya
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Ambepussa
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Botale
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Tunnel No. 1
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Wilwatta
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Mirigama
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Wijaya Rajadahana
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Ganegoda
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Pallewela
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Keenawala
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Wadurawa
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Veyangoda
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Heendeniya Pattiyagoda
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Magalegoda
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Bemmulla
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Daraluwa
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Gampaha
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Attanagalu Oya
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Yagoda
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Ganemulla
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Bulugahagoda
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Batuwaththa
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Walpola
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Puttalam Line
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Ragama Junction
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Horape
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Ederamulla
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Hunupitiya
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Wanawasala
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Kelaniya
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Kelani River
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Dematagoda
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Kelani Valley Line
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Maradana
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St Sebastian Canal
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Colombo Fort
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Coast Line

The Main Line is a major railway line in the rail network of Sri Lanka and considered by many to be one of the most scenic train journeys in all of Asia. [1] The line begins at Colombo Fort and winds through the Sri Lankan hill country to reach Badulla.

Route definition

Badulla Railway station Badulla sta.,Sri Lanka Railways,Uva Province,Sri Lanka.JPG
Badulla Railway station

The Main Line starts from Colombo and runs east and north past the rapidly developing centres of Ragama, Gampaha, Veyangoda, and Polgahawela.

At Rambukkana, the Main Line begins its steep climb into the hills of the upcountry. Between Balana and Kadugannawa, the track clings to the side of sheer cliffs, offering passengers views of Batalegala ('Bible' Rock).

From Peradeniya Junction, a branch line reaches Kandy and Matale.

The Main Line then continues its climb through tea country, connecting local market centres at Gampola, Nawalapitiya, and Hatton before reaching Nanu Oya. This is the connection to the former colonial resort of Nuwara Eliya, known for its temperate climate, classic hotels, and British-style gardens. The Main Line continues its ascent to the summit at Pattipola, 1,898 m (6,227 ft) above sea level, before descending past Bandarawela to Badulla. In the upcountry, passengers can view the tea gardens, mountains and valleys, cascading torrents and waterfalls. [2]

History

Early steam powered train on the Main line Loolecondera railway.jpg
Early steam powered train on the Main line

The first segment of the Main line was opened in 1864, with the construction of the line from Colombo to Ambepussa, 54 km (34 mi) to the east. This was the first rail line in the country. The first train ran on 27 December 1864. The line was officially opened for traffic on 2 October 1865. The main reason for building a railway system in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was to transport tea and coffee from the hill country to Colombo.

The Main Line was extended in stages with service to Kandy beginning in 1867, to Nawalapitiya in 1874, to Nanu Oya in 1885, to Bandarawela in 1894, and to Badulla in 1924. [2]

Till 1953, the Main line operated with steam locomotives. In the 1950s, service was enhanced with diesel locomotives, under the leadership of B. D. Rampala. [3] Various types of diesel locomotives were added to the service.

In 2011, ExpoRail and Rajadhani Express began operating a premium section on trains on the Main Line. These services were launched to improve rail transport's appeal to the public. [4] [5] Sri Lanka Railways also began importing new diesel-multiple units to replace the aging rolling stock previously used on the line. Built by China's CSR Corporation Limited, the new S12 trainsets are designed to work on the steep gradients of the hill country. [6] The commuter rail portion of the line, within the Colombo metropolitan area, is planned to be electrified, though no ground work has started. [7]

Operators and service providers

Sri Lanka Railways operates most passenger services on the Main Line. Sri Lanka Railways' most notable services on the line includes the Udarata Menike, Podi Menike, Tikiri Menike, and Senkadagala Menike.

ExpoRail and Rajadhani Express operate premium services on the Main Line. They run premium carriages attached to Sri Lanka Railways-operated trains. [4] [8] [9]

Infrastructure

Older railway infrastructure on the Main line, including a gantry of semaphore signals Gantry of Sri Lanka semaphore signals,main line,Sri Lanka.JPG
Older railway infrastructure on the Main line, including a gantry of semaphore signals

The Main Line has a gauge of 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge. [3]

The Main Line is not electrified. Regular services run on diesel power. However, there are plans to electrify the commuter rail network, within Colombo. This includes the Main-line segment between Colombo Fort and Veyangoda. [7]

Most of the line currently operates on a lock-and-block signaling system. The commuter rail section was upgraded to electric signalling in the mid-twentieth century. The system is connected to a centralised traffic control panel at Maradana Railway Station. [3]

Related Research Articles

Transport in Sri Lanka

Transport in Sri Lanka is based on its road network, which is centred on the country's commercial capital Colombo. A rail network handles a portion of Sri Lanka's transport needs. There are navigable waterways, harbours and three international airports: in Katunayake, 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Colombo, in Hambantota, and in Jaffna.

Badulla City in Sri Lanka

Badulla is the main city of Uva Province situated in the lower central hills of Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of Uva Province and the Badulla District.

Nawalapitiya Place in Central Province, Sri Lanka

Nawalapitiya is a town in Central Province, Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Railways

The Sri Lanka Railway Department is Sri Lanka's railway owner and primary operator. As part of the Sri Lankan government, it is overseen by the Ministry of Transport. Founded in 1858 as the Ceylon Government Railway, it operates the nation's railways and links Colombo with other population centres and tourist destinations.

Udarata Menike is a daytime passenger train that runs between Colombo and Badulla in Sri Lanka.

Kelani Valley line

The Kelani Valley railway line in Sri Lanka, covering the breadth of Colombo District. The line is owned, maintained, and operated by Sri Lanka Railways.

B. D. Rampala Sri Lankan mechanical engineer

Bamunusinghearachchige Don Rampala, was chief mechanical engineer and later general manager of Sri Lanka Railways. He was the first native Sri Lankan to hold the post of chief mechanical engineer. In 1956, the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in London recognised Rampala as the finest diesel engineer in Asia at the time.

Godagama is a town of city of Colombo Sri Lanka. It is located in Colombo District within the Western Province, Sri Lanka.

Blue Line Express is a train service provider in Sri Lanka, a part of Blue Line Company. Blue Line Express provides premium services on several routes in Sri Lanka, in partnership with Sri Lanka Railways. Although it does not yet operate its own trains for scheduled services, it operates carriages that are attached to trains operated by Sri Lanka Railways.

Locomotives of Sri Lanka Railways

Locomotives and train sets of Sri Lanka Railways consist mostly of diesel locomotives and multiple units. Steam locomotives are no longer used, except on heritage trains, such as the Viceroy Special.

"Podi Manike" is a Sri Lankan passenger train running from Colombo Fort to Badulla. This journey covers about 300 km and is renowned for being the most beautiful train journey in Sri Lanka, especially the stretch from Nanuoya to Ella. It takes about 10 hours to complete the journey.

ExpoRail

ExpoRail was a train service provider in Sri Lanka. ExpoRail used to provide premium services on several routes in Sri Lanka, in partnership with Sri Lanka Railways. Although it did not operate its own trains for scheduled services, it operated carriages that were attached to trains operated by Sri Lanka Railways. ExpoRail also offered charter services, where entire trains are composed of its own carriages.

Coastal line (Sri Lanka)

The coastal line is a major railway line in Sri Lanka, running between Colombo Fort and Beliatta, via Galle and Matara. Operated by Sri Lanka Railways, the line includes some of the busiest rail services in the country. The line has been extended to Beliatta on 8 April 2019 and is proposed to be extended to Kataragama, via Hambantota. With a designed maximum speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) between Kalutara and Matara, and a maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) between Matara and Beliatta, the line is one of the fastest in Sri Lanka.

Kandy railway station

Kandy railway station is a major railway station in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The station is served by Sri Lanka Railways and is the primary railway station in Kandy and one of the most significant in the central hills. The station sits on a branch of the Main Line, leading to the Matale Line.

Hatton railway station (Sri Lanka)

Hatton Station is a railway station on the Main (Colombo-Badulla) railway line in Sri Lanka. It is situated between Rozella and Kotagala railway stations. It is 173.06 kilometres (107.53 mi) along the railway line from the Colombo Fort Railway Station at an elevation of about 1,262.5 m (4,142 ft) above sea level.

Nanu Oya railway station

The Nanu Oya railway station is the 63rd station on the Main Line, and is 206.9 km (128.6 mi) away from Colombo. All trains including Podi Menike and Udarata Menike express trains service the station. The station was a junction and branching point for the Udupussallawa narrow gauge railway line connecting Nanu Oya with Ragala via Nuwara Eliya.

Colombo - Badulla Night Mail Train is a night time passenger and mail train that runs between Colombo and Badulla in Sri Lanka.

Polgahawela railway station

Polgahawela Junction railway station is a major junction station, situated in the Kurunegala District, North Western Province, Sri Lanka. It is the 34th railway station on the Main line and is 73.83 kilometres (45.88 mi) away from the Colombo Fort Railway Station, at an elevation of 74.39 metres (244.1 ft) above sea level. The station is located at the centre of Polgahawela and is a main junction point joining two railway lines; one coming from the upcountry of Sri Lanka and another from the northern part of the country.

Veyangoda railway station

Veyangoda railway station is a railway station in the Western Province, Sri Lanka. The station is served by Sri Lanka Railways, which is the state-run railway operator.

References

  1. "(Video) The train to Ella, Sri Lanka — the most beautiful train journey in Asia?". Island Life. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Sunday Observer". Cameos of the past: First train on line to Badulla from Colombo. 19 July 2009. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 "The Island". Rampala regime in the local Railway History. 19 July 2010.
  4. 1 2 "Luxury Rail". Lanka Business Today. 26 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  5. "Sri Lankan railway introduces luxury class Services on Colombo -Kandy rails". News.lk. 7 November 2011. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  6. "Dailynews". Railway gets new power sets from China. 23 April 2010. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012.
  7. 1 2 "Future Plans". Sri Lanka Railways. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  8. "NEWS.LK: The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka". Sri Lankan railway introduces luxury class Services on Colombo-Kandy rails. 7 October 2011. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012.
  9. "Daily Mirror". Expo Rail: Wonder on the track. 3 October 2011. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.