Thought of sharing our experience with the Mount Lavinia – Jaffna Train ride as it can be useful. We opted for a train ride, as we had to cut down travel time. That is the fastest mean of travelling you have to Jaffna. The buses would take up to 9 hours, whereas the train takes about 6 to 7 hours. The details about our tour can be found in this link.
Cutting down the hassle of standing at a booking queue, we purchased train tickers over Dialog service. Of course I immediately had my service disconnected as the total came up to 8000+ odd, but still, It was convenient compared to the normal purchasing routine (To break down, One trip was 1500/= from Mount Lavinia to Jaffna. So that in to 2 was 3000/= Per person. There is a charge for over the phone bookings and government taxes so per person, it would come up to about 4000/= both ways)
For those who don’t know the drill, even if you do purchase tickets via phone, you do have to go and collect the tickets from either Pettah or Wellawatta prior to your trip, if you are getting in from a different train station.
Must say, very impressed by the Train facilities we had. Comfortable seats, A/C, and of course our seats had power socket ( of course needed when your phone battery is unreliable). Not all seats get access to it. Ours was B37, B38 😉
I think we watched about 4 movies during our entire journey. That was a good mix actually, ranging from English, Tamil, Comedy and animated. No sounds of course but they purposely chose movies that you can understand even without voices.
If you are a clean freak, I suggest you pack your own breakfast/Lunch, depending on your journey time. I didn’t trust the Malu paan sold at the Train so I packed my own food 🙂 They do have a man walking up and down the isle after about 3 hours from the start so of course you can have food. Also, you have the Buffet compartment in the Train where you can get your own drinks and other food items.
Lavatory – I emptied as much as I can at home so I can avoid public Lavatories 😛 That goes same to the train as well. They sure do have good toilets but you know, when the crowd increases, you really can’t trust to have a fragrant toilet. So, unless u can hold it, I suggest you go early before the train gets crowded.
The rail track is okayish till you reach Kurunegala. No pain, just a bit of rocking here and there. And then! From Kurunegala to Vavniya, it was like a really bad massage. Or better, it was like you are one of those balls in those Lottery machines we get here. You are thrown all over your seat, and then you are made to jump! Strongly advice not to have a heavy meal before this happens! 😀 pretty sure you will have your meal in a bag.
The rail track after Vauniya to Jaffna is awesome! The train moves like a dream! obviously because those are the newly laid tracks. You can have a good sleep and also wouldn’t feel the train reaching the destination.
You would be surprised if I say, the best looking Station was at Jaffna only. Of course it was the most recently built station I suppose. Decent colors, and a lot of space, it clearly impressed me and wished that all stations were modified to this level soon.
To end, I would say it is a wise choice to go for a train ride, if you want to visit Jaffna. Don’t worry about transportation around the city. I will detail more about that in a later post