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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

‘Kandy Odyssey’ launches maiden service

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‘Kandy Odyssey’, the latest weekend intercity express train operating from Colombo to Kandy and back, for Kandy-bound tourists, made its maiden journey on Saturday (01).

Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana participated in the launching of the service at the Colombo Fort Railway Station on Saturday morning.

He said this train service will run during the weekend to facilitate local and foreign tourists visiting the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and return to Colombo on the same day.

Leaving at Colombo Fort at 6.30 am on Saturday and Sunday, the train will arrive in Kandy at 9.18 am and it will leave Kandy on both days at 4.50 pm and arrive in Colombo Fort at 7.40 pm.

A First Class (air conditioned) ticket costs Rs.2, 000, a Second Class ticket Rs.1, 500 and a Third Class ticket Rs.800.

Passengers on this train will be able to view the popular and scenic locations enroute to Kandy as the train will pass these locations at a very low speed.

The train staff and the passengers commended the initiative of the Government aiming at local and foreign tourists travelling to Kandy by train.

The view from the Kandy Odyssey.
Locomotive driver Bharatha Jayasinghe said this weekend intercity express train runs between the Badulla-bound Podimenike Express leaving at 5.55 am and the Kandy-bound daily intercity express leaving at 7.00 am from Colombo Fort. “Due to the higher demand for train services in the recent past, many passengers faced difficulties in reserving seats for their journeys. Therefore, I believe that this train running in between the above two trains will be very useful. Also passengers will be able to view scenic places such as No 5A tunnel popularly known as Meeyan Ella in Ihala Kotte, the Sensation Rock between Ihala Kotte and Balana stations and the Lion’s Mouth Rock between Balana and Kadugannawa stations. This will be a new experience for the passengers,” he said.

Main Guard of the Train K.W. Dhammika was of the view that this train service will provide solutions to many problems of the passengers and facilitate the tourists during the weekend. “This train comprises First, Second and Third Class compartments. For its maiden journey, there were 105 passengers in the First Class compartments and 130 passengers in the Second Class compartments. They had reserved seats only within a very short period from the announcement of this train service. However, what I have to inform the passengers is that you should use the trains responsibly and carefully. We have observed that some new passengers who have opted to move to train services due to the recent fuel price and bus fare hikes show no discipline when using the trains. Some of them smoke in the train, drink alcohol and behave in a manner that disturbs other passengers, especially on the long distance and night train services. Therefore, I request them to behave in a proper manner when using this public transport service,” he said.

Kumari Idamegama of Colombo: “I am not a frequent traveller of trains. I visit Kandy once in a while to see my brother. It is a good suggestion to have this train. Otherwise we will have to use the bus. I think this will benefit more people in the future.”

Iresha (travelling with her family to Kandy): “We chose this new train to visit Kandy as we wanted to experience this service. My family is here with my kids. This is a good train service. We are happy to join its maiden journey.”

Dr. Arumugan (an Indian national): “This is a very comfortable train and the fare is cheap. Travelling by train is safer and more comfortable than by road. However, compared to India, Sri Lanka should develop its train services further in order to provide the public with more facilities.”

Lakshan from Piliyandala: “It is my opinion that although this is a new train service, it should be upgraded further. We are the ones who pay taxes to maintain this property. Also we pay a high amount for the train ticket. For this special train we paid Rs.4, 000 for two tickets to Kandy. But what are the special facilities that have been given? Not a cup of coffee is served during the journey. Also there are numerous issues with the cleanliness and the maintenance of these compartments. Even some toilets are not up to standard. The ladies and infants cannot use them at all. Therefore, these things should be rectified in order to upgrade the local train service.”

Director General of the National Botanical Gardens Department Shelomi Krishnarajah commenting on this new train service invited the public to make use of this new train to visit Kandy and the Botanical Garden along with their children. “The Botanical Gardens is full of various features, sections and species of plants and the passengers of this train will have enough time to visit it before leaving Kandy by the same train,” she said.

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