The very first steam trains were running in Sri Lanka to bring Tea, the greatest commercial export of the colonial Ceylon, to Colombo. Major Thomas Skinner was instrumental in setting trains up and he describes in his book “Fifty years in Ceylon” how he had to convince the British colonial government to spend approximately GBP 800,000/- to set up the network of railway lines, bridges/aqueducts, for Trains, today it stands as one of the most scenic journeys to be done on rail in the world. Board the intercity Train from Colombo to Badulla (10 hours ) making sure that you sit on the right side of the special observation carriage which will give you the best scenery, in Peradeniya your Train takes a right turn and starts the most incredible journey through the rolling hills covered with Tea estate after Tea estate. One could also takes a nostalgic journey in a Steam Train, The Viceroy Special, to Kandy and experience the reminiscent of a era gone by.
The Train trip will take you through 56 manmade tunnels, places to look out for are Nawalapitiya – Hatton, and Haputale – Ella, grey stone cliffs and rivers will flash past your window with occasional views of enormous waterfalls cascading down the mountainside, while the Train keeps climbing steadily through to Hatton then Nanu Oya, if you are going to Nuwara Eliya you need to break journey here, if not, passing “Adams peak” standing sentinel in the south an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, through the Horton plains National Park then Pattipola and Ohiya reaching its highest elevation of 1890 meters above sea level, the Train starts descending towards Ella and at the end of the line you will find the Badulla Train station sitting on top of the line, known as the “Demodara loop”, and the Trains passes underneath it before coming to rest on the platform.