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rail travel badulla to kandy, and onwards

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posts: 305
reviews: 7
rail travel badulla to kandy, and onwards

we have booked an overnight sleeper thru reddottours from colombo to badulla, arriving 8.45am

now we'd like to book the train from badulla to kandy, the same day leaving at 9.10am

1. they've said we should book this when we get there - should there be a problem as we only arrive 25 minutes before we want to leave again?

(this is because we wanted to both experience the overnight train

AND to see the beautiful scenery on the journey to Kandy, and have limited time for our holiday)

it is our 1st sri lanka trip & we thought this would be a good way of seeing some of the country and deciding where to go back to next time

have read that the observation car can get hot, only some seats have a good view, you travel backwards AND only get to travel with westeners

2.so think we'd like to go 2nd class and mix with sri lankan families

but am not sure if 2nd class seats are bookable?

any thoughts on this would be welcome

3. we spend 2 days/3 nights in Kandy then want to travel down to galle on the same day by train

if we get the 10.30 train from kandy which arrives at 13.50 should we aim to get colombo to galle train at 14.05 (bit tight?), 16.00, OR wait for the intercity express at 17.00 ( which I THINK is the only train bookable in advance?

4. on our return we plan to get the 10.40 from galle to colombo so that we have an afternoon and evening in colombo (at the galle face hotel) to relax before our flight home

does this train not have reserveable seats either?

5. if you cant reserve these train seats is it going to be very stressful trying to get on trains? it will be the 1st 2 weeks of august when we travel

(appart from the badulla to kandy train reddot have said thay can reserve 1st class tickets on all these journeys - but i cant find a mention of 1st class on most of our times)

I'd just like to get all this clear before I continue my booking with them

thank you!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
posts: 35,662
reviews: 144
1. Re: rail travel badulla to kandy, and onwards

Hi there,

One by one...

1. Well it'll probably be simply the same coach reversing without the night berth compartments. So you should always have 25 mins. And queue for 2nd class tickets is never extremely long.

2. 2nd class seats are not bookable on this train (only on Colombo-Kandy express). So hopefully seats available once you return from the counter with tickets; it might make sense to have one of you simply stay on the platform and board once the coaches have been cleaned, claiming 2 seats.

3. Well on Colombo-Galle there are no bookable express trains (anymore). Strange info from Reddot. Better simply take 10:30 train, in Colombo Fort you might be lucky catching the Galle one and might be unlucky. Officially this is no through train but unofficially it MIGHT be which means any delay gets propagated anyhow and you simply can stay seated...

4. No it has not.

5. Well a bit:

a) Be sure to be on Galle platform, with tickets, around 10:10 AM because that's when it arrives from Matara. (Long transfer time because the train direction reverses.)

b) Use the Lankan standard trick: once the train arrives and seats empty, reach through an open window and put hand luggage on a chair - this way claiming it. After that enter the compartment through the crowded queue near the doors...

Trains on main routes are generally VERY full now due to train prices being far below intercity bus prices.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

posts: 305
reviews: 7
2. Re: rail travel badulla to kandy, and onwards

thank you Erik

well I'm going to ask red dot for more info on their proposal

so does that mean that their is no pre bookable 2nd class intercity express from colombo to galle - at 17.00 as I saw on the seat 61 website?


Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
posts: 35,662
reviews: 144
3. Re: rail travel badulla to kandy, and onwards

Hi again Anne,

Yes sorry, this is a small outdated part of the Seat61 site. Will note it next time I recommend it to others. The real source, supposedly more up to date, is mentioned on their site:


There is an express from Colombo to Galle 30 mins earlier, at least.

The ICE train Galle-Colombo v.v. was an 'experiment' from something 2001 to early 2004 (so even stopped before the tsunami damage), can't remember anymore why it stopped.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

4. Re: rail travel badulla to kandy, and onwards

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