By "Viceroy Special" through Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Sri Lanka: 01.04. - 13.04.2007

Following the recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka we are very sorry to announce the cancellation of this tour due to security concerns. Until recently only the northern part of Sri Lanka, which was not included in our round trip plans, and a very few big cities, saw terrorist activities. However, the latest news reported an attack on a harbour city in the south of Sri Lanka which is a resort location for tourist as well. We won’t take the risk to getting involved in this situation, so regrettably we are forced to cancel the trip. We hope at some time in the future to be able to offer this program again once conditions are safe for travel.

Departure Colombo Maradana, photo: Florian Schmidt

Sri Lanka, former Ceylon, is a tropical island to the south east of India in the Pacific. The volcanic origin created high mountains (up to 2,524 metres above sea level) in the centre of the island. In the era of the British Empire the island was developed with the help of railways. One of the broad gauge lines climbs up from the lowlands into the mountains. We will especially explore this particular line with its quite spectacular and scenic sections.

Our two week programme not only includes fantastic locomotives and railways, in addition we will visit some of the most interesting tourist highlights. We'll see elephants, temples, pagodas, caves, colonial hill station resorts, beaches and so on. If you like, you can extend your stay at one of Sri Lanka's nice beaches.



Date Itinerary
01.04. Departure from Frankfurt/Main (other airports possible) to Colombo
02.04. Morning arrival in Colombo, transfer to our Hotel Berjaya Mt. Royal, afternoon for leisure
03.04. After an early breakfast we will go to Mt. Lavinia railway station. This will be our first day on board of the very comfortable and air conditioned "
Viceroy Special". Our loco is the 4-6-0 B1D 340. In Pinnawela you have the chance to take a look in the Elephant Orphange whilst the locomotive takes water in Rambukkana. Here the spectacular part of the railway starts. Because there are some very steep parts, we will attach a banker locomotive to the train. Planned is the Hunslet tank locomotive B2B 213.
En-route, you may enjoy lunch & tea or coffee service on board of our train. This service is provided every day on board. Every day, along the line we'll make several photo stops with runpasts and false starts for both, photography and video film makers.
In the late afternoon we will arrive in Kandy. Here we'll visit the famous "Temple of the Tooth", and if time allows, the Botanical Gardens.
In the evening another cultural highlight: we will attend a dance performance and a fire walking show at the Lake Club.
Dinner and overnight in the Queen's Hotel.
04.04. The next two days rank as one of the Great Railway Journeys of the World. We will travel on the "
Viceroy Special" train from Kandy high into the hill country, passing tea plantations, cascading waterfalls and jungle. Locomotives again will be two 4-6-0s, nos. 213 and 340.
In the afternoon we will arrival at Nanu-Oya. Transfer by bus to Nuwara-Eliya. At about 6,000 ft. above sea level and the highest town on the island, it feels like a piece of the English Lake District. Tudor-style and Victorian homes looks across a pretty blue lake. We'll stay in the Grand Hotel.
05.04. After breakfast at the hotel, we'
re going to visit a tea plantation before again boarding the Viceroy special at Nanu-Oya. Continue ascending with no. 340 pulling and no. 213 banking the train through lush scenery to Pattipola, which is the summit of the line.
By mid-afternoon the train will reach Bandarawela.
We will check in to the beautiful, colonial hotel Bandarawela.

After a leisurely breakfast, we'll depart by coach to Badulla, the terminus of the line. From Badulla, our train is hauled by the two 4-6-0s again. The line passes through mountain scenery and tea plantations to Nanu-Oya. As always en-route, lunch and tea/coffee service on board the train will be provided.
In the afternoon arrival in Nanu-Oya and transfer to our hotel in Nuwara Eliya. We'll stay in the "Tea Factory Hotel".


After breakfast, re-join the "Viceroy Special" at Nanu-Oya for a run down to Kandy where we will (temporarily) say goodbye to the "Viceroy Special" and go by bus to Kandalama.
Late afternoon is time for relaxing. We'll stay in the hotel Kandalama or in the Culture Club.

08.04. Today we will take a day off. After breakfast, leave by bus to Polonnaruwa and visit the interesting ancient city (1200 A. D.) covering the places of interest. After lunch at the nice Royal Lotus Hotel we will return to Kandalama. On the way, we'
ll visit the famous "Awkana" Buddha statue. In the afternoon we will have time to visit the Dambulla caves, and in the evening we will enjoy the temple nearby.
Same hotel as before.
09.04. Before we re-board our train, we'll take a look at Sigiriya and will visit the Rock Fortress (300 A. D.) and the frescoes. We'll proceed to Kurunegala and join the "Viceroy Special" train leaving for Mt. Lavinia. Our arrival is planned for the late afternoon. Transfer to Berjaya Mt. Royal Hotel where there will be opportunities to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure.

Today we will travel on the beautiful coast railway line from Mt. Lavinia to Galle. Our train will be hauled either by B1D 240 or by B1D 251. Several photo stops along the line will produce some nice shots with the sea in the backdrop. For this day, we'll also try to organise a freight train.
The afternoon is for leisure. We'll go by bus to visit the old Dutch Fort. Hereafter we'll continue to the nearby Unawatuna Beach Resort where we'll stay overnight.

11.04. After breakfast we'
ll return, while photographing our train, to Mount Lavinia. On the way we'll stop at Kosgoda to visit a turtle farm.
After our arrival in Mt. Lavinia we'll proceed to the railway's workshop and running shed in Ratmalana.
We'll stay at the Berjaya Mt. Royal Hotel.
12.04. After breakfast visit to the Dematagoda locomotive shed, home to all the steam locomotives on the island. The available steam locomotives on both, broad gauge and narrow gauge, will be in steam to enjoy short trips. Nearby we'
ll see some dumped broad gauge locomotives. The one and only workable Sentinel railcar V2 331 and J1 220, both narrow gauge, will demonstrate their power on the short track inside the shed area. Unfortunately, all the narrow gauge line was lifted, so only this short piece of track remained.
For lunch we'll return to our hotel. A last time to relax, before we have dinner and then head for the airport to catch our flight back to Europe.
13.04. Shortly after midnight our flight starts from the airport of Colombo back to Europe. Arrival at the same day in the late morning.

Departure Peradenia, photo: Florian Schmidt


Impressions from Colombo and Kandy

Foto: Martin Wollmann Foto: Martin Wollmann
Evening at the beach of Colombo
Foto: Martin Wollmann Foto: Martin Wollmann
Left the departure black board, right the entrance of an office building
Foto: Martin Wollmann Foto: Martin Wollmann
Wiev over the valley of Kandy and the usual road-fight in the city
Foto: Martin Wollmann Foto: Martin Wollmann
Temple along the line Kandy - Comobo and visitor to the temple of tooth in Kandy
Foto: Martin Wollmann Foto: Martin Wollmann
Locomotives in Colombo


The tour is planned for both railway enthusiasts and their girl friends/wives with a more open mind to see more of the country than only rails and iron ladies.

We expect temperatures between 25 and 33 degrees Celsius in the lowlands and about 20 to 27 degrees Celsius in the mountains. The morning temperatures in the mountains can be fresh, so please do not forget to bring something warm to wear. The humidity can be tropically high. In April, showers are common on the west coast, while the east coast is mostly dry. The monsoon will not reach the island before May.

There is a minor risk of Malaria in most of the parts of the country where we will stay. Although our hotels offer an AC you should think about carrying a mosquito net with you. In the evening hours one should wear long trousers and shirts to avoid contact with mosquitoes. There is no need for special vaccinations. It's sufficient to carry some tablets against diarrhoea and a common cold.

In general, we ordered good and stylish hotels of the upper middle class, travel aboard an air-conditioned luxury train and in similar comfortable busses. However, please consider that service standard and - in particular - security equipment can not compete with European standards. Sri Lanka belongs to the so called "Third World". Especially in the outskirts of large cities there's poverty, misery, dirt and unhygienic circumstances. We will not visit these parts of the cities, but you never can be sure that you won't see people who have to live in such sorry surroundings. If you have no travel experience in countries like Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and so on, it would be wise to read a general guide book about the culture, the religion and the political development of our host country. In addition, do not forget the chapter how to behave with beggars. With this knowledge you will see and understand more of the country and their inhabitants, for sure. However, you should not be too concerned about unpleasant situations, we will visit the most beautiful and peaceful parts of the country. We are far from the region where the Tamils fight against the government (the hostilities stopped many months ago), and we move in safe and quiet places.

The train is especially hired for our group, we have not to share it with any other party. There will be at least three runpasts every day when we are travelling by train, normally more.

This tour is designed that it would be possible to travel together with your partner. If she is neither interested in the train nor the locomotives you can deduct 105 Euro from the tour price for her place on the train.



Sentinel steam railcar, photo: Florian Schmidt
Sri Lanka 20 to 26 participants 3.420 Euro
01.04. - 13.04.2007 27 to 38 participants 3.220 Euro
  single room supplement 440 Euro

Minimum number of participants: 20
Maximum number of participants: 38

The price includes:

not included are:

Above prices are based on specific bookings with the respective airlines, which, given the limited availability of seats, have to be confirmed well in advance. Your early booking is hence appreciated.


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