Portal:Sri Lanka Railways

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Sri Lanka Railroads Map.svg

The Sri Lanka Railway Department (more commonly known as Sri Lanka Railways (SLR)) (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකා දුම්රිය සේවය Śrī Laṃkā Dumriya Sēvaya; Tamil: இலங்கை புகையிரத சேவை) is Sri Lanka's railway owner and primary operator. As part of the Sri Lankan government, it is overseen by the Ministry of Transport. Founded in 1858 as the Ceylon Government Railway, it operates the nation's rail and links the capital, Colombo, with other population centres and tourist destinations.

The Sri Lankan rail network is 1,508 km (937 mi) of 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge. Some of its routes are scenic, with the Main Line passing (or crossing) waterfalls, mountains, tea estates, pine forests, bridges and peak stations.

Selected article

Sri Lanka Railways S12

Class S12.jpg

Sri Lanka Railways Class S12 is a diesel multiple-unit (DMU) train model, built for Sri Lanka Railways by China's CSR Corporation. The DMUs are currently being imported in phases, with the first batch arriving in Sri Lanka in August 2012. They were built to replace locomotive-hauled passenger trains. Seven of the S12 DMUs were ordered to strengthen long-distance travel on the Main line from Colombo to Badulla. Four of S12s will serve the Kelani Valley Line. The remaining two will be designed as luxury trains

Selected biography

B.D. Rampala

Bamunusinghearachchige Don Rampala, MBE (popularly known as B. D. Rampala) was Chief Mechanical Engineer and later General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways. He was the first native Sri Lankan to hold the post of Chief Mechanical Engineer. In 1956, the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in London recognised Rampala as the finest diesel engineer in Asia at the time.

In 1949 he was appointed as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Railways, the first Sinhalese man at that post. During his time at this post, Rampala noticed many major railways around the world were upgrading from steam locomotives to diesel. He made his proposal to dieselise the Sri Lanka Railways, and in 1953, the first batch of diesel locomotives arrived from Brush Bagnall of the United Kingdom.




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ClassM6 790.jpg

Sri Lanka Railways M6, a diesel-electric locomotive imported to Sri Lanka in 1979. They were manufactured by Thyssen-Henschel, a German company (Kassel W.Germany). These locomotives have 1650 hp engines, and are still in operation. They are very successful in upcountry lines, since they have flexifloat bogies and dynamic brakes. Loco number 793 and 798 engines were destroyed by LTTE terrorists. A M6 met the famous Watawala landslip incident. HESCHEL THYSSEN company was bought by ADtrainz and again it was sold to Bombardier Transportation Company in 2001. M6's power generator was built by GM EMD (General Motors Electro Motive Division, later Electro Motive Diesel' now part of Catepiller)

These locomotives were originally imported for use on flat terrain but they are very successful in upcountry line. Its flexifloat bogies and dynamic breaks allow it to perform well in the upcountry. Therefore, the M6 fleet is frequently used in upcountry line.

Did you know

Commuter trains waiting at a station
  • The railway network was introduced in Sri Lanka on 27th December 1864. The main reason for building a railway system was to transport tea and coffee from the hill country to Colombo. Initially the service began with the Main Line of 54 kilometres connecting Colombo and Ambepussa.
  • In 1953, Sri Lanka Railways enhanced its service to more power with diesel locomotives. Since then, diesel locomotives gradually replaced steam locomotives.
  • SLR divides the network into three operating regions, based in Colombo Maradana, Nawalapitya, and Anuradhapura. Railway network comprises nine lines.
  • Commuter trains serve the busiest portions of the railways, ferrying commuters within Colombo and its suburbs. Most commuter trains are operated with diesel multiple units.


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