Sunday, 20 December 2015
Monday, 14 December 2015
|M8 945 reverses on the bridge outside Colombo Fort Station.|
Visited a location just to the West of Colombo Fort in the late afternoon.
Observed M10 916 arriving on a train from the Galle direction. M10 944 was observed shunting (presumably running around a train at Fort)
|M8 842 passes the Batticaloa train at speed with an express bound for Colombo.|
|M4 743 passes through Semaphore signals as it approaches|
Maho junction with a mixed t
|Our journey with M4 756 comes to an end at Habanara.|
Time to make frineds with the station groundsman and show some pictures of the UK railways to the staff, which generally went down quite well! The ALCO back on the move again we eventually arrived into Habanara around 1 hour late. A really excellent train ride with hawkers selling food through the train and massive window (and doors) to lean out of. Friendly crews and a really great loco- what more could you want!?
|M6 797 will be our traction into the mountains. Seen herea at Peradeniya Jcn.|
A mixed train was passed at Nawalapitty (possibly a W3 loco) and another passenger with M6 785 at Watagora. A final mixed train was passed at Pattipola with M6 795. Despite these observatiosn is it worth noting that two of the 5 trains each day on this route are now handled by the S12 'Chinese' DMU's.
|An S12 Chinese DMU crosses a significant viaduct on the|
mountain line between Ella and Badulla.
|S12 933 has reached journey's end at Baddula. A number of services in this route are now in the hands of these Chinese DMU's instead of the more traditional loco hauled coaching stock.|
|M10 944 at Galle.|
|M2 626 'Montreal' waits to depart from Matara towards Galle.|
|M2 626 runs around it's train in the terminal station at Galle.|
The first loco to actualy grace my camera was the ECS for the 16:10 to Polgahawela with M10 945 which passed at around 15:35. The light had improved a little on earlier but it was not the nice sunny shot I had come for. Being farily wet and defeated I decided the best course of action was to have a ride with the M10- which sounded very good!
There was just time to photograph the 15:52 to Panadura which I was convinced would be a unit at the station, ths turned up with M4 743.
The M10 run up to Colombo Fort was very good- these locos which were new in 2012 are some of the loudest I have come across. Coupled with running right along the coast and the opening doors the ride was certainly good fun- and very cheap.
|M10 945 approaches Mount Lavinia with the empty stock for the 16:10 departure.|
I returned to the station in time for my train to Bentota which turned up to be an all shacks stopper to Galle... and a DMU! Not really wanting to take this I asked the guard if there was an alternative to Aluthgama and was advised there was an express... but he didn't seem to know the calling pattern or when it was arriving. As I was already getting late for dinner and it was dark I took the S10 DMU, Defeated. To be fair, the DMU's are not bad at all with a large above floor power car and are more akin to an HST than what we would consider a DMU. They don't sound too bad either and still have the large opening doors and windows- not a loco though which is what I wanted. To add final insult to injury we paused for along while at Aluthgama- you guessed it, to let the express behind overtake us. This was M10 943 which I clearly could have had a ride on and still made the DMU to my locol shack. Oh well... you win some...
The final rail trip in Sri Lanka was from Bentota to Colombo.
I was fairly sure again that the local trian from Bentota at 11:05 would be hauled and it was with Loughbrough built M7 800 and finally a mixed train (even if only with one wagon). The train was tediously slow shunting at several stations to let trains pass in the other direction and calling almost everywhere.
|Brush built M7 800 pauses en route to Colombo with the slow train.|
Thus was the end of our Sri Lankan adventure and after leaving our cases in the HUGE lockers at Fort Station we were free to explore the city for our last afternoon.
|A commuter DMU works in Colombo.|
Railway systems here are very antiquated with Edmondson tickets, ancient signalling equipment and ancient trains. Train crews are friendly and most people speak a good level of English. The country as a whole is well worth a visit.
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Right now I am sampling the wonders of the railway system of Sri Lanka. Certainly it is quite different from what any London commuter would be used to, with seemingly ancient trains and passengers leaning out of every open doorway (and on the most crowded trains simply hanging on to the handrails outside the doors). However look beyond the foreign mask and you will find hints of the railways colonial past at every opportunity. a lack of recent investment has left many long vanished British traditions thriving here. You can still catch the 'Night mail' across the country and peer into many station offices and you will find wooden clad cases containing ancient block instruments. Outside of the main cities thwrw are also a plethora of semaphore signals to enjoy. The tickets too are something quite archaic!