Saturday, April 12, 2014

80. On Rails To Badulla... Part 3 - Up to Hatton

The Badulla bound පොඩි මැණිකේ and  Colombo bound උඩරට මැණිකේ, both Class S12 trains  passing each other at Watawala.

So we rolled off from Peradeniya. If you missed the two previous parts, these are the links.

On Rails to Badulla... Part 1
On Rails to Badulla... Part 2 Up to Kandy

 9.15 AM: Passing Gelioya.
The station immediately after Peradeniya Junction.

 9.20 AM: Traveling light. It snugly fitted to the overhead rack.
No fear of them crashing on top of us.

 9.24 AM: Gampola. Waiting for the signal to change.
That  peculiar shaped Temple Dagoba on the top of the hill
in the background attracts everyone's attention.

 9.24 AM: Still at Gampola.
We had to back out of the way and enter another track
to let another train pass.

 9.25 AM: The weed grown tracks, and the railroad furniture
all are part of the nostalgia, a non train enthusiast would find difficult to understand.

 9.29 AM: The professional photographers
would frown at the way we handle cameras ,
but there's no other way. All we need is the picture.

 9.32 AM: A Class M5 rumbles by...

 10.00 AM: At Nawalapitiya.
Is that a Canadian M4 Engine?
Someone please tell me.

 10.04 AM: Well, the Computer control connector,
broadcasting connector and multiple connector
are really connected on the right hand side of the car.
I've been looking at the wrong side really.

 10.12 AM: This is an important station as
it is  the control center for the Up Country Line.

 10.15 AM

 10.20 AM: Pine Trees and other vegetation.
 Interesting shades of green...

 10.21 AM:  There is a lot of controversy about
growing pines in the central hills,
still, it is a constant reminder that
you are in the cool hill country.
 10.22 AM: Everyone clicks away like mad.
This is all that is left at the end.

 10.22 AM: Light and dark. What a contrast!

 10.22 AM:
A live nature program running on every window.

 10.23 AM: Rattling along over a rail bridge is
a sensation of  its own, which is difficult to explain.

 10.23AM: The mountain side is crisscrossed with
small streams like this.

 10.23 AM: I've always wondered how well a
railroad merges with the nature and becomes a part of it!

 10.25AM: Inguru Oya is a small way station between Nawalapitiya and Watawala.
We had to wait here for some time for the signal to change.

 10.26 AM: This waiting can  piss off some,
specially the impatient and the grumpy.
But for us, it was part of the deal...part of nostalgia.
Tell me please...
Is the  TVG and the bullet train as fun as this?

 10.31 AM: Picture post card views like this are all around us, only if we bother to look... and in the mood...

 10.31 AM: We're rolling again...

 10.32 AM

 10.33 AM:
What it would be like to sit on that rock
with my feet in the cool stream water...

 10.33AM: We saw a number of abandoned compartments
like this on the way.

 10.33 AM

 10.35 AM: Granite mountains in full abundance.
That's what the tunnels are bored through, remember?

 10.35 AM: Tunnels are another wonder on this mountainous rail route called Up Country Line. We attempted so many times to get a clear picture like this. It is not easy with the camera in the  auto mode as the camera sensors are fooled by this contrast in light which messes the shutter speed added to the motion of the train which most often produces a blurry picture.
This one came out just about right anyway.

 10.35 AM: Most of you dudes are thinking about taking a dive and then a drink, huh?
 10.34 AM: It's the water that makes all the difference.

 10.36 AM: Does it remind you of the wild west? It does to me...

 10.36 AM: I don't have to hold your hand and
walk you through this, do I?
I mean do I have to think about something to say to every picture?

 10.36 AM: I told you once, this pink water bottle and teddy bear blankets belong to the little girl who was there in the front seat, for God's sake...

   10.38 AM: Stuck at the signal again. Is it Galboda? I'm not sure.

 10.39 AM: How many of you guys have had this adventurous ride on these connecting plates in the joint, creaking and grinding against each other, when you were kids? When I was a kid, I was so scared that this would grind my foot into mincemeat if placed in the center. Later, I used to show off here riding most of the way with my feet on two plates, till someone asked me to get the hell out of the way.

 10.40 AM:
What would it be like to go to this school for a change?
See the playground?

 10.40 AM: You tell me...

 10.41 AM

 10.43 AM

 10.43 AM

 10.47 AM: I thought pine trees had an awesome scent, too. Am I imagining it?

 10.54 AM: This desktop background is Hirusha's
like most of his awesome shots that  are here.

 10.56 AM: Some dudes think the whole Sri Lanka is a tea estate, well thanks to the tourist brochures... :D

 10.56 AM: The amazing colors of nature...

 10.56 AM: Winding through the mountains
calls for tail chasing shots like this.

 10.57 AM

 10.59 AM

 11.00 AM: Watawala.
162 km from Colombo fort and 993.5m above the sea level.
We spent some time here as we were waiting the Colombo bound train to pass. Even venders are here ready with their ware because this is a routine. The people walking away came on our train and climbed down to the tracks.

 11.01 AM: Sights and sounds of the rail tours.
These old sheds which badly needs a paint is a common site everywhere, like the weed grown tracks...

 11.02 AM:
This is piece of Sri Lanka's ancient railway history.
One dude told me this is from the times of steam locomotives. This overhead metal tank once held water to fill the steam train engine boilers through metal pipe which had a flexible rubber or leather extension fitted to the end.

11.05 AM: Hello and Goodbye!  Blue meets blue.   The two sisters traveling up and down.
11.05 AM: This was one of my dream jobs. Still is.

11.05 AM: These modern diesel electrics with digital displays on the dashboard makes these trains a turning point in Sri Lankan Railway Story.

11.06 AM: Me having an eyeful.

 11.07 AM: I love this eye pleasing architecture  of these country stations on the mountain railway.
11.09 AM: Started rolling again...
 11.10 AM
 11.12 AM. The complete picture! Tea plantation,
winding roads, the tea factory and the aqua-duct.

 11.14 AM: The  well worn footpath.
 11.15 AM. Highway A7 running from Avissawella to Nuwaraeliya.
 11.17 AM
 11.17 AM
 11.17 AM
 11.18 AM. Hey what's the matter with that mountain.
Harrowed path from top to bottom and one side shaved?

 11.19 AM: Looks like a housing scheme to me. 

11.20 AM:
11.21 AM. Train passing through rattling the plate rack in the kitchen sure must be a way of life here. 
 11.22 AM: Crisscrossing rails tracks...

 11.22 AM At Rozella. 

 11.24 AM: Simple life... Simple station.
Rozella.1140.35m above MSL.

11.25 AM

 11.26 AM

 11.27 AM: The Eucalyptus trees with its peeling white bark
gives a pleasant smell.

You have to keep swollowing to unblock the ears. Sometimes you can't hear the rumble of the engine as your ears get locked due to low pressure. 

 11.30 AM: About 1200 meters up.

 11.32 AM
 11.33 AM: We were getting hungrier and hungrier as we were climbing higher and higher.
Unfortunately the Cafeteria Car was closed
as the tender for the year had run out.
And to make the matters worse, we didn't find any venders
who sold lunch packets as we expected. 

 11.34 AM: Arriving at Hatton.

11.35 AM The train had made 175.06km from Colombo
and climbed up to 1260meters above the sea level
when it pulled into the Hatton station.

11.37 AM:
Hatton is comparatively a larger station
compared with the ones we passed along the way.


If the sight of the station is not so picturesque, how about this picture postcard view we had few minutes before we pulled into the station.

This journey is not just a matter of distance. It's a matter of elevations above the sea level,too. The elevation above the sea level is generally mentioned at the bottom of the name board of each station. We started at Gampaha which is merely 10.97m above the MSL and had climbed up to 473.47 meters when we reached  PERADENIYA JUNCTION.

Anyway the name board at Peradeniya reads 476.38m.

We passed Geli oya, Gampola, Thambiliala, Ulapane, Nawalapitiya, Inguru Oya, Galboda, Watawala, Ihala Watawala, Rozella and reached Hatton gradually climbing up to 1262m above the mean sea level. 

The summit level  on Sri Lankan Rail Network is 1898.1m somewhere between Ambewela and Pattipola stations.

That's why I said that it's the journey that matters, not the destination.

So the best is yet to come. Await the next episode
On Rails To Badulla... Part Four for more.

Also Published in Sinhala language 


  1. This is such an awesome post Dude! :-g very nice story and very nice photos.... :-h..... anyhow you three are very good at taking pics .... :-f

    I am sure malla must have been very angry for leaving the pink bottle near him :))

    Please upload the rest of the pics also soon ok blog walker y-)

  2. Thanks for the first comment. He is furious to be seen in or with pink. :))

  3. //What it would be like to sit on that rock
    with my feet in the cool stream water...//
    This is the first thought that crosses my mind every time I see a small creek like this

  4. thanks for all the photos! You made me want to go on the train to Badulla,which I haven't done in over 15 years!



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