A journey by Train


Udarata Menike (Photo: ImageLanka) inset 5 Rupee stamp of Sentinal Camel Steam Railcar

Udarata Manike (Photo: ImageLanka)




I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step

Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare

To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down hill

And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop — docile and omnipotent —
At its own stable door.



Colombo – Kandy train route was established during the British rule in 1867.  We decided to take this journey a hundred and forty four years later. Unable to get reserved tickets from the Fort railway station we happily settled for the return trip from Kandy. Holiday makers – many foreigners, some expat Sri Lankans and warrant holders and families were using this as a popular mode for travel and sightseeing. Initially we wanted to travel to Trinco on the Night Mail. This trip was cancelled in the last minute because there was news of a Cyclone heading that way. So in the end it was a trip to Kandy  and now – we were tripping ourselves across the dust strewn crawling buildings of the Kandy railway station.

See the poem above – I’ve been bitten by the bug of travel, and affected by a particular strain that calls for travel by trains. Why so –  if you ask me – explore the travelers map and trace those white -and-black lines across the island, can you imagine how much is in store for you?!

Yes, but how you say – I know even I worried about getting to the station, carrying light haversacks (with just enough clothes and no specials), meals, peeing and feeling sick… but these are just a few minor worries -just sit back and relax to enjoy. When struck by the bug – you can feel the wind on your cheeks and view the countryside in all it’s glory, splendid colours, passing ordinary people, boys stop their game of cricket, cars and lorries, buses and mo bikes watch you pass (when traffic is blocked to make way for the train gates), even the cows gaze, the dogs bark and on you go.

As I settled on my seat F-12, 2nd Class I realized I’m backing the engine (only two carriages away) and within the compartment I was facing the back of another set of seats. But across the seats were three girls, whose bright excited faces brightened up my day, almost instantaneously. Ages 18 months to 6 years they were three moor sisters and extremely pretty, I wish I could catch their portraits through my lenses; only it would be rude to intrude, thus.

My son Ruvee

My companion, technically should have caught the same bug, but decided to sleep. And when the train start to crawl and huff and puff great steam clouds, I quickly pushed the sleeping passenger to the aisle seat and took up the window seat. And I’m glad I did that, this silly boy (obviously after a heavy lunch and bowls of rich pudding his Aunt makes him!) sleeps right upto Fort and I might as well write another post of that account.

More of my journey by Train and loads of pics in the next few days…

Comfy Exporail carriage http://www.exporail.lk/

Kandy Express 786


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