Sri Lanka Railways recently commenced a special train service for local and foreign tourists from Kandy to Ella.
The train departs Kandy at 7 a.m. and reaches the Demodara Railway Station at 2:20 p.m. on a daily basis. The return journey will commence at 3:40 p.m. from the Demodara Station and reach Kandy at 9:35 p.m.
The train named ‘Ella Odyssey’, is unique and dedicated to provide an extraordinary train ride to the heavenly up-country of Sri Lanka. It comprises 176 air conditioned first-class seats, 144 second-class seats and a restaurant.
Thundering waterfalls, beautiful green hills, vast tea plantations. The hour-long train ride from Kandy to Ella (or Ella to Kandy) is known as one of the most beautiful train routes in the world.
During the ride, passengers are allowed to stick their heads as far out of the window as they like, and daredevils can even hang out of the door.
There are virtually no rules or supervisors, so passengers can basically do whatever they want. As the journey progresses, the train climbs higher and higher, and the views become more and more spectacular.
The train route was established in the mid-19th century, when Sri Lanka was still a colony of England. The route was mainly used to transport tea from the plantations to Colombo, to be shipped internationally. Today, the train route is used by locals to travel to and from work, and is a popular tourist attraction for travellers from all over the world.
The train will stop at stations with tourist attraction locations such as St. Clair’s Waterfalls, Great Western station, Elgin Fall, Summit, Tunnel No. 18, Idalgashinna station, Nine Arch Bridge, Demodara Tunnel and Bridge.
A stage type platform is provided adjacent to the Nine Arch Bridge. Odyssey Special travellers can enjoy the adventurous experience while adjusting to the given time plans.
An extraordinary stage and a view point is located at Demodara station for the purpose of observing the unique running of the trains through Demodara rail loop. Passengers can also experience it while riding on Odyssey Special through Demodara rail loop.
Ella is a favourite among day hikers and more experienced trekkers alike. The two famous treks in the area are Little Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock, not to mention Ravana Falls and other famous waterfalls in the area. For overnight walkers and camping enthusiasts, Ella is a great starting point for the Meemure hike and longer waterfall explorations.
The Ella Gap is a privileged spot in the surrounding mountains that provides views of the lowland jungles and rainforests with vistas of the tea plantations higher up.
The train ride from Colombo to Ella is a beautiful experience – from the city to the mountains, passing through paddies and fields and then through forests to arrive in Ella.
The train from Ella to Nanu Oya, higher up in the mountains, is one of the most scenic rides in the world and a favourite activity among tourists coming to Sri Lanka. First class is comfortable but second class is the most memorable because you ride with the locals.