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18 May

Train Timetable in Sri Lanka

Train Travel around Sri Lanka

Find out how to book Sri Lankan rail travel from the comfort of your European, Australian or U.S home


Sri Lanka is home to stunning and untouched coastlines, a beautiful lush countryside and magnificent cities. Although the country is on the rise and eagerly improving its road infrastructure, one of the most pleasant ways of travelling around the country remains by train. Train travel is perfect to enjoy the spectacular scenery while someone else does all the driving for you.

Booking tips for ordering tickets outside of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has three rail services – the government service Sri Lanka Railways and the two competing privately-run services Expo Rail and Rajadhani Express. Please note that you can’t book any tickets online from the regular Sri Lanka Railways. Reservations can be only done for trains like the InterCity Express which offer reserved seating.

Here are the phone numbers of the respective train stations to enquire about the train timetables in Sri Lanka:

– Colombo Fort Railway Station: 011 2432 908
– Kandy Railway Station: 081 2222 271
– Badulla Railway Station: 055 2222 271
– Anuradhapura Railway Station: 025 2222 271
– Vauniya Railway Station: 024 2222 271


Train Timetable in Sri Lanka

For rates, schedules and train timetable in Sri Lanka visit .

Yamu has produced this helpful train timetable in Sri Lanka  infographic which also is a useful one-pager on the main train travel routes and train schedules across Sri Lanka.


Most government-run trains are divided into the following classes:

– 1st Class Sleepers: they feature 2-bath cabins with toilet and washbasins and are used for overnight trains.
– 1st Class Observation Car: currently available on certain daytime trains such as Colombo to Kandy & Badulla. Highly recommended.
– 1st Class Air Conditioned Seats: available on newly built InterCity trains.
– 2nd Class Seats: available throughout all train versions. Seats have reclining functions.
– 3rd Class Seats: available on most train version. It may get crowded and noisy but it’s a great local experience though.

If you want to be on the safe side and really pre-book a seat prior to arriving in Sri Lanka, consider contacting a local travel agency but be ready to a pay a service fee on top. The following are some agents to get you started:

Red Dot Tours: Well experienced, excellent reputation. You can book your hotel and reserve tickets at the same time. However it is only possible to book 1st class tickets ahead, 2ndclass on the day of arrival. They require full payment in advance. For further information see .

Tangerine Tours: IATA approved travel agent. They don’t offer single ticket reservation however multiple-day tours by train. Visit for more information.

Visit Sri Lanka Tours: Easy-to-follow website navigation. You can book and pay on the spot via PayPal. More here:

Your hotel: Contact the concierge / reception manager in advance and see if they can arrange the ticket and help with the train timetable in Sri Lanka before you arrive.


Expo Rail and Rajadhani Express are of the high-end variety and offer daily services from Colombo to Kandy & Badulla as well Colombo to Galle & Matara. These air-conditioned trains come with inclusive meals, Wifi & power sockets. The tickets can be easily booked online, just visit and .

Alternatively, network provider Mobitel Sri Lanka offers convenient ticket reservation through your mobile phone for InterCity and Rajadani services. For rates and further information visit .

And for vintage fans – The Viceroy Express

The private Viceroy Express is the only steam locomotivewhich is still in operation in Sri Lanka and offers a luxurious experience which sets you 75 years back in time. The train is chartered and runs therefore not on a fixed train timetable in Sri Lanka. Visit for rates and train tietable.

Viceroy Steam Travel in Sri Lanka

Suggested Day Trips

Bring a lot of time as most trips take several hours (and don’t forget your camera!). Three of the most mesmerizing routes are:

1.) Colombo to Galle: this spectacular route runs approx. 120 kilometres and mainly along the wonderful coastal regions to the Portuguese influenced town of Galle in the south.

galle train

2.) Colombo to Kandy: start the trip from the bustling city of Colombo along the picturesque mountain regions to the nation’s cultural capital, the UNESCO protected city of Kandy. The slow journey takes you through different climates, from sunny to cloudy and hot to chilly.



3.) Kandy to Ella: this route is considered as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Make sure to secure tickets for the observation car as these are quickly sold out. It’s recommended to book tickets 5-7 days in advance to be on the safe side.


Visit for up-to-date timetables

A Final Word

It is important that you know where to sit on the train as you may end up sitting on the wrong side just staring at a wall of mountain cliffs instead of rice paddies and tea estates. Be quick to find a seat as trains fill up fast. Worst case scenario: you have to stay for an unknown time. In order to find out what side of the trains offers the best view just approach other travellers who are on the same train or even better, those who just arrived by train.

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