Coastal Line Railway Station

Midigama, Sri Lanka | C.1895

Photo Credit: Christina Pérez

The Coastal Line is a railway line running between Colombo Fort and Beliatta in Sri Lanka. Operated by Sri Lanka Railways, this line manages some of the busiest rail services in the country.

Rail was introduced in Sri Lanka in 1864 to transport coffee from plantations in the hill country district of Kandy to the port city of Colombo on its way to Europe and the world market.

The Coastal Line was the second active railway line in Sri Lanka. Construction work began after the Colombo-Kandy-Badulla Main Line. On March 1, 1877, a train set off on its maiden voyage to Panadura. Almost exactly one year later, train lines made it to to Kalutara and one year after that, Wadduwa Station was opened, which houses the ticket counter pictured above.

In the mid-twentieth century, the Coastal Line underwent changes to accommodate growing traffic. Galle Station was upgraded with better facilities and modern architecture. Express trains began serving the line, including the now celebrated Ruhunu Kumari. Additionally, diesel traction soon replaced steam locomotives on all services.

Today, Sri Lanka Railways continues to operate passenger services on the Coastal Line. Regular services run on diesel power, however, there are plans to electrify the commuter-rail network within the Colombo metropolitan area.

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