Sri Lanka’s 16 Must-Know Named Passenger Trains

Sri Lanka’s 16 Must-Know Named Passenger Trains

In the enchanting realm of Sri Lanka’s railway history, the mid-1950s marked a significant turning point. Under the visionary leadership of B. D. Rampala, Sri Lanka Railways embarked on a distinctive journey by christening major passenger services with evocative names. These named trains not only traverse the picturesque landscapes of the island but also carry with them a rich tapestry of history and cultural significance. Let’s embark on a captivating journey through Sri Lanka’s must-know named passenger trains.

1. Udarata Menike (Upcountry Maiden) – No. 1015 & 1016 Route: Colombo to Badulla

Udarata Menike, aptly named the “Upcountry Maiden,” is a majestic journey through the heart of Sri Lanka. Connecting Colombo to Badulla, this train weaves its way through lush tea plantations, misty hills, and charming villages. As the train chugs along, passengers are treated to panoramic views, making it a favorite among both locals and tourists seeking an authentic Sri Lankan experience.

2. Podi Menike (Little Maiden) – No. 1005 & 1006 Route: Colombo to Badulla (no longer runs via Kandy, only through coaches to Kandy)

Once running through Kandy, Podi Menike, the “Little Maiden,” now connects Colombo to Badulla, offering a unique perspective of Sri Lanka’s changing landscapes. Although it no longer ventures through Kandy, the train remains an essential part of the island’s railway narrative, providing a comfortable and scenic journey for passengers.

3. Tikiri Menike (Little Maiden) – No. 1023 & 1024 Route: Colombo to Hatton

Tikiri Menike, another “Little Maiden” in Sri Lanka’s railway network, takes passengers on a mesmerizing journey from Colombo to Hatton. As the train winds its way through the central highlands, travelers are treated to breathtaking vistas of mist-covered mountains, cascading waterfalls, and the verdant beauty of the Hill Country.

4. Senkadagala Menike (Maiden of “Senkadagala” – area name) – No. 1035 & 1036 Route: Colombo to Kandy

Senkadagala Menike, named after the historical area of Kandy, graces the tracks as the “Maiden of Senkadagala.” Connecting Colombo to Kandy, this train is not just a mode of transport but a journey through time, allowing passengers to explore the cultural richness and heritage of the island.

5. Yal Devi (Princess/Queen of Jaffna) – No. 4001 & 4002 Route: Colombo Mount Lavinia to Kankasanthurei via Jaffna

Yal Devi, the “Princess/Queen of Jaffna,” is an iconic train that has witnessed the changing landscapes and historical events of Sri Lanka. Connecting Colombo to Kankasanthurei via Jaffna, this train plays a vital role in linking the north and south, showcasing the resilience and unity of the island.

6. Uttara Dewi (formerly Deyata Kirula) – No. 4017 & 4018 Route: Colombo to Jaffna

Originally named Deyata Kirula and later changed to Uttara Dewi, this train has been operating since September 11, 2011. Serving as a lifeline between Colombo and Jaffna, Uttara Dewi represents progress, connectivity, and the continuous development of Sri Lanka’s railway infrastructure.

7. Udaya Devi or Uthaya Devi (Princess/Queen of the Rise -East) – No. 6011 & 6012 Route: Colombo to Batticaloa

Udaya Devi, the “Princess/Queen of the Rise-East,” gracefully travels between Colombo and Batticaloa. This train not only connects two diverse regions but also allows passengers to witness the unique blend of cultures and landscapes that define Sri Lanka’s eastern coast.

8. Rajarata Rajina (Queen(regnant) of the land of kings) – No. 8085, 8086, 4085, & 4086 Route: Vavuniya to Matara via Colombo

Rajarata Rajina, known as the “Queen of the land of kings,” embarks on a regal journey from Vavuniya to Matara via Colombo. This train not only traverses the island’s central region but also symbolizes the historical significance of the kingdoms that once ruled the land.

9. Ruhunu Kumari (Princess of “Ruhuna” – southern province) – No. 8058 & 8059 Route: Colombo(Maradana) to Matara

Ruhunu Kumari, the “Princess of Ruhuna,” offers a splendid voyage from Colombo to Matara. As the train glides along the southern coast, passengers are treated to golden beaches, turquoise waters, and the cultural richness of the Ruhuna province.

10. Samudra Devi (Queen of the Oceans) – No. 8760 & 8327 Route: Colombo to Galle

Samudra Devi, the “Queen of the Oceans,” embarks on a majestic journey from Colombo to Galle. As the train hugs the coastline, passengers can witness the allure of the Indian Ocean, making this a captivating and scenic ride through the southern landscapes of Sri Lanka.

11. Galu Kumari (Princess of Galle) – No. 8056 & 8057 Route: Colombo(Maradana) to Matara

Galu Kumari, the “Princess of Galle,” follows the coastal tracks from Colombo(Maradana) to Matara. This journey not only provides a convenient mode of travel but also allows passengers to explore the historical charm and cultural heritage of the iconic city of Galle.

12. Sagarika (Name of Ocean in Sinhala Language) – No. 8096 & 8097 Route: Colombo (Maradana) to Galle

Sagarika, named after the ocean in Sinhala language, gracefully connects Colombo (Maradana) to Galle. This train journey is not just a transportation mode but a poetic experience, allowing passengers to be mesmerized by the rhythmic waves and coastal beauty.

13. Siyanae Kumari – No.8039 & 8040 Route: Kandy to Matara

Siyanae Kumari embarks on a journey from Kandy to Matara, connecting two culturally rich regions of Sri Lanka. This train is a testament to the island’s diversity, offering passengers a glimpse into the historical and natural wonders that characterize the route.

14. Nayana Kumari – No.8062 & 8063 Route: Colombo to Hikkaduwa

Nayana Kumari graces the tracks as it travels from Colombo to Hikkaduwa. This journey not only provides access to the pristine beaches of Hikkaduwa but also showcases the seamless blend of modernity and tradition along the southwestern coast.

15. Muthu Kumari (Princess of Pearls) – No. 3427 & 3803 Route: Colombo to Chilaw

Muthu Kumari, the “Princess of Pearls,” takes passengers on a charming journey from Colombo to Chilaw. As the train meanders through lush landscapes, passengers are reminded of the island’s historical significance as a pearl trading hub.

16. Meena Gaya – No. 6079 Route: Colombo to Batticaloa (Intercity)

Meena Gaya, operating as an Intercity service, connects Colombo to Batticaloa. This train not only serves as a fast and efficient mode of transport but also allows passengers to explore the cultural and historical treasures along the eastern coast of Sri Lanka.

Embarking on any of these named passenger trains in Sri Lanka is more than just a journey; it’s a gateway to the island’s diverse landscapes, rich heritage, and the warmth of its people. As the trains weave through the hills, coasts, and historical landmarks, passengers are treated to a kaleidoscope of experiences that make these journeys truly unforgettable. So, hop on board and let the rhythmic clatter of the tracks guide you through the enchanting tapestry of Sri Lanka’s named passenger trains.