National railway system
The national railway operator is Sri Lanka Railways (SLR).
- Gauge: 1676 mm (5 foot 6 inches)
- Electrification: none
- Rule of the road: left
There are no known printed maps.
Online maps are available at:
Extensive information is available at the Man in Seat 61.
- Journey planner: SLR website (English language)
- Downloadable timetable: none known
- Printed timetable: a printed timetable was available at ticket offices in 2017/18 costing Rs 150/-. It is not known whether this is still published as of 2023.
- Engineering information: long-term engineering works may be reported as news on the front page of the SLR website.
The line north from Noor Nagar (terminus of passenger services from Colombo via Puttalam) is privately owned and freight only.
Metro and light rail systems
None. A light rail system may be constructed in Colombo.
Recent and Future Changes
Work to renovate the 59 km from Maradana to Avissawella, on the Kelani Valley line, was launched on 7 September 2023 and is scheduled for completion in 2 years.
Train operations from Colombo to Jaffna were due to resume from the 15 July 2023, after closure on 5 January 2023, for modernisation of the railway track between Anuradhapura and Omanthai, under Maho-Omanthai Railway Development project.
The rehabilitation of 128 km of the Maho to Omanthai railway route, on the Northern Line, is taking place in four phases over 3 years. Two phases have now been completed with final completion target of 31 December 2023.
Obscure and sparse passenger services
See PSUL: World Beyond Europe for Obscure services
The following lines have few trains (although others may not be much more frequent) - fewer than three trains each way on at least three days a week - or do not run each weekday. The printed timetable does not display table numbers.
|Medawachchiya - Talaimannar Pier||One pair daily worked from Talaimannar Pier end|
|Galoya Junction - Trincomalee|
|Kosgama - Avissawella||Note this is a "with the flow" commuter service to/from Colombo so it is impossible to complete a day return over the full line from Colombo|
|Puttalam - Noor Nagar|