The final rail journey of my March-April trip was from the glorious southern town of Galle back to the capital of Colombo. A distance of around 114 kilometres, there are several trains you can take a day from express trains to local commuter trains. So obviously the trains can vary muchly in time taken, from 2 hours for the express train to over two and a half or three hours for a local train, depending on delays and such obviously.
I took the express train that left at 1650. It was due in at 1840, and I think it was roughly on time. This was the only train I think per day that accepted reservations for the route. Galle is a major tourist destination in Sri Lanka, so I guess it’s a bit strange that they don’t run any trains with first class carriages there. The best you can do is the ‘observation class’ carriage, which is just the single carriage, filled with foreigners.
Booking a reserved seat was always preferable, as second and third class are often a bit of a scamper to get seats for such a popular route. And it’s a nice route too, best summed up through the lens rather than with words, but it’s green and pretty and there are times you are basically on tracks on the beach, the ocean seemed so close I could almost reach out and touch it!
The only downside to the observation carriage was, this time they hooked it up to the engine at the front. So basically, nothing to see out the front window. And the windows aren’t clean but I discovered an open door at the rear of the carriage.
It was a bit stuffy and as I’d found with previous experience taking the observation class, the whole carriage wasn’t brilliantly maintained. Still, it was comfortable enough. A bit sticky inside, the rain belted down for quite a bit of the journey which really was very cool. Not in temperature! It made it quite a surreal, in a good way, experience.
We went to Galle from north of Colombo by road, and the road certainly was good, wide and open and fast. But I think I still prefer the train. I love train travel! What can I say? And I think if you visit Galle you really must take the train, at least one way!
Thanks for reading, take care, and as always – May the Journey Never End!