Red Dot Tours | Sri Lanka internal transport | Sri Lanka trains.
Train Travel in Sri Lanka
Train travel in Sri Lanka can be an adventurous experience. One fabulous way of exploring the tea country is to jump aboard the train. The morning railway journey from Kandy to the highlands of Nuwara Eliya, Ella or Dickoya, climbing uphill upto 6,000 ft above sea level, is one of the greatest railway journeys in the world. The dramatic landscape of the highlands stirs the senses as you wind past lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. The Sri Lanka Railways – the government railway network, which was first started in 1864 during the colonial period, covers a wide network of routes that spreads across the island. A private initiative, Explo Rail started their operations in 2011 and also offers train travel to limited destinations including the hill country and the East Coast. Our company is an online travel shop for holidays in Sri Lanka, which means we sell any aspect that makes up a holiday. This includes train tickets.Booking train tickets in a country such as Sri Lanka can be a tricky and time-consuming business, as the procedures and technology are outdated. It is important that we give priority to our own holiday customers who expect and deserve high levels of service. We regret that we must therefore request a minimum spend of US$300 on travel and accommodation to seek to book train tickets on a customer’s behalf. We are sure you will find our prices competitive and our standards high.
Expo Rail
Expo Rail owned by the Expo Lanka Group, started its rail operations in 2011 and offers a train service in collaboration with Sri Lanka Railways. Expo Rail is available from Colombo to Kandy, Badulla in the southern highlands, Trincomalee in the North East coast and Vavuniya in the Northern Province. Expo Rail carriages (usually one carriage attached to the regular Ceylon Railways trains, offer airconditioned comfort, reclining seats, adequate windows that allows you to take in the scenery; onboard meals; overhead compartments for luggage; and clean bathroom facilities. Expo Rail carriages are available on the following Ceylon Railway routes on a daily basis:
Colombo to Kandy : Departure 07:00Arrival 09:30
Kandy to Colombo : Departure 15:00Arrival 17:30
Colombo to Badulla : Departure 05:55Arrival 16:00
Badulla to Colombo : Departure 08:50Arrival 19:35
Colombo to Trincomalee : Departure 21:00Arrival 05:10
Trincomalee to Colombo : Departure 19:30Arrival 04:05
Please contact your Red Dot sales consultant for further details.
Rail Roads
Sri Lanka Train Route Map
Rajadhani Express
The Rajadhani Express is a luxury train carriage that is operated by the Blue Line Company in collaboration with the government Ceylon Railways. This service is available from Colombo to Kandy; Colombo to Badulla in the southern highlands; and Colombo to Matara in the south. The Rajadhani Express carriages are fully restored colonial period carriages with airconditioning, wood flooring and paneling, comfortable reclining seats, and fully fitted washrooms. Other on board facilities includes meals on board, wifi internet, cable TV, and a butler service to assist you with your journey.
Please contact your Red Dot sales consultant for further details.
The Viceroy Special
For the ultimate in luxury old world train travel you can even travel on Sri Lankas only passenger steam train, the 75 year old Viceroy Special. The private train has two air conditioned observational saloons furnished in period style with 64 plush reclining seats and individual adjustable tables. Each saloon has an adjoining smoking lounge and modern toilet. There is a restaurant carriage complete with Edwardian ribbed fans and teak trimmed wood paneling.
Please contact your Red Dot sales consultant for further details.
Sri Lanka Railways
The government Sri Lanka Railways network comprises nine lines radiating from Colombo, the most beautiful of which runs deep into the hills. The main line from Kandy includes stops at Hatton which is convenient for climbing Adams Peak; Nanu Oya - the nearest station to Nuwara Eliya; Ella which is ideal for hiking and active holidays; the lesser - known old British hill station of Bandarawela; and finally, the sleepy agricultural town of Badulla. This journey offers spectacular hill - country views as the train winds its way past gushing waterfalls and through neatly - clipped tea estates.There is also a useful train line for tourists travelling along the south coast from Colombo to Matara which stops in Bentota and Galle. There is also a train to Trincomalee, which travels through the Cultural Triangle, but travelling by car is preferable in terms of comfort and time. Following are the seating available:

    • Hill Country Observatory Carriage:

    There is a special first - class observatory carriage on the Colombo to Badulla hill - country train. This is the last carriage on the train which has a full window to maximise the views. Tickets need to be booked at least 14 days in advance. Note that availability can be limited during national holidays.

    • First Second Class carriages:

    The main advantage of travelling in the first class carriage not available on the south coast route, is that you can book in advance and be guaranteed a seat. However, as long as you avoid the peak commuter trains in the morning and evening, second class travel is also enjoyed by many, although you have to be prepared for some jostling on the station platform .

  1. Sri Lanka Railway train schedule:

    First class observation tickets for the following train journeys can be book with Red Dot: Red Dot does not sell tickets for other routes on Sri Lanka Railways.

  2. Colombo - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Badulla (locally known as the Udarata Menike Train):

    CMB 0555BADULLA 1600
    CMB 0945BADULLA 1925
    CMB 2000BADULLA 0710(sleeper train - not recommended)
    BADULLA 0545CMB 1540
    BADULLA 0850CMB 1930
    BADULLA 1800CMB 0515(sleeper train - not recommended)

    Colombo-Kandy Intercity Train:

    CMB 0700KANDY 0930
    CMB 1535KANDY 1805
    KANDY 0610CMB 0840
    KANDY 1500CMB 1730
  3. Our Ticket Prices for Sri Lanka Railways:

    To arrange pre - booking, we have to pay a supplement to a third party. Our train ticket prices are therefore set above the basic ticket price and are as follows:

    • Ticket price per journey (including admin fee): US$25 per person
    • Hotel delivery Charge (within Colombo only): US$ 10 per group

    Note:The delivery charge is optional. You can also collect at the station and the procedure will be explained on your Travel Voucher.

  4. Booking Tickets:

    Booking train tickets on the governments Sri Lankan Railways can be a laborious business. We aim to provide a good service at a fair price, but it is important that you are aware of the pitfalls and limitations. Please ask for a copy of our PDF entitledPre-Booking Train Tickets.

  5. When pre - booking tickets with us please note of the following:

    • We regret that we must request a minimum spend of US$300 on travel and accommodation to seek to book train tickets on a customer’s behalf. We are sure you will find our prices competitive and our standards high.

    • We can book first class (observation -class), second class, Expo Rail and Rajadhani Express train tickets in advance. Third-class can be purchased on the day of travel.

    • We require full payment in advance and we try to book the tickets at the earliest opportunity i.e. 45 days before travel.

    • We will refund in full, and as a priority, if we fail to obtain tickets.

    • Tickets are issued on a first come-first serve basis and cannot be booked online, except for the Expo Rail and Rajadhani Express carriages, which can be booked online.

    • Government officials have priority, which means that tickets are sold strictly subject to availability, even after they have been confirmed.

    • Train tickets are non-refundable once successfully purchased.

    • Delivery arrangements will be stated on your Travel Voucher. Most often your tickets will be given to your assigned chauffeur-guide, but we can also arrange for delivery to your hotel (Colombo only) or for the tickets to be held at the station for collection.

    Please note that first-class train bookings are notoriously difficult to secure during the following holiday periods due to high local traffic, but we will always endeavor to secure your booking:

    - Christmas Holidays 20 December-5 January
    - Sinhala Tamil New Year 1 April-20 April
    - Perahera season: July and August

    First-class tickets can also be difficult to obtain in February as it is peak season for tourists.
    Passenger Safety

    Travelling on the train is at your own risk. We cannot take responsibility in case of an emergency but you could get in touch with our Operations Team who will assist in any way possible. The Sri Lanka Railways carriages do not have sliding doors. Therefore please consider your safety and do not lean out of the train during the course of the journey.


    Useful Links:

    Sri Lanka Railway
    Expo Rail
    Rajadhani Express
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