Taking the train is a great & inexpensive way to get around, the train journeys are real cultural experiences and the most scenic routes.
Train times & fares for key routes...
Colombo - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Elle - Badulla
- Colombo depart - Peradeniya Junction - Kandy - Hatton (for Adam's peak) - Nanuoya (for Nuwara Eliya) - Haputale - Badulla arrive
Colombo - Galle - Matara: The Coast Line
- Kandy depart - Colombo Maradana depart - Colombo Fort depart - Mount Lavinia depart - Kalutara South - Bentota - Galle arrive - Matara arrive.
Colombo - Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Trincomalee
Colombo - Anuradhapura - Talaimannar/Jaffna
- Colombo Fort depart - Anuradhapura arr/dep - Talaimannar Pier arr - Vavuniya arrive - Kilinochchi arrive - Pallai arrive - Jaffna arrive.
Colombo commuter: Negombo, Mount Laviniya, Kalutara, Puttalam, Avissawella
Colombo Fort - Negombo - Chillaw - Puttalam (Puttalam Line)
Colombo Fort - Mount Laviniya - Kalutara North - Kalutara South (Coast Line)
Colombo Fort - Gampaha - Rambukkana (Main line)
Colombo Fort - Avissawella (Kelani Valley Line)
Colombo Commuter trains link Colombo with various stations in the Colombo area, including Mount Laviniya, Negombo, Puttalam, Kalutara North & Kalutara South. Although basic, these commuter trains are ideal for reaching your destination cheaply, or making day trips into Colombo during your stay. Will get crowded at peak times.
To look up train times, use either http://slr.malindaprasad.com or www.railway.gov.lk (click English then Train schedule)
Colombo Commuter trains are 3rd class only. Fares are incredibly cheap: Colombo to Kalutara South or Negombo. Buy a ticket at the ticket office & hop on.
Note that Colombo-Galle mainline trains also call at Mount Laviniya & Kalutara South (but not Kalutara North). Colombo-Kandy mainline trains also call at Rambukkana.