Up country sightseeing by train, only second to Peru
BOOK LAUNCH: A journey by train in Udarata Menike to the hill country
is fascinating and one of the best experiences a traveller could have in
the world said Financial Consultant Das Meriyagolla.
Speaking at the launch of the âA comprehensive Guide to information
of Sri Lankaâ book written by former Director General of Sri Lanka
Tourist Board (SLTB) J. F. Ranjith Perera he said this journey is only
second to some Journeys in Peru.
He said that the SLTB should play a more active role and tries to re
develop the Sri Lanka rail network and attract more local and foreign
Many endorsed this view and said that both the Ministry of Railways
and the SLTB should work closely to improve this avenue of promoting
The Udarata Menike carries an observation car, which can accommodate
nearly 50 passengers. Passengers who prefer to travel in this have to
book their seats one week before and have to go to the station by 5 a.m.
to join the queue.
However, a foreign traveller will not be able to undergo such
painstaking experiences. As a result you hardly see any tourists in the
Preference is give to Railway Employees who travel in large numbers
when reserving seats and worst part of the story is that these employees
reserve tickets for their kith kin who deprives the opportunities of
genuine reservations, said dismal faces traveller.
âWhat the Railway department must try to do is to give only around 15
percent to the employees and provide the balance to the public,â said a
travel agent from Colombo.
He said that the balance seats could be sold through travel agents
just like selling air tickets. The observation is also given out to
families of Railway employees who travel in large numbers.
The author of the book former Director General of Sri Lanka Tourist
Board (SLTB) J. F. Ranjith Perera has included almost all places of
historic, cultural recreational and tourists interests.
âHowever I was unable to include anything on the Rail network since I
could not get any information from the Department of Railways when I was
compiling the book three years ago,â he said.
Minister of Tourism Milinda Moragoda said that the book showers a
comprehensive overview of Sri Lanka. âThe SLTB would soon upload this
book on a web site so that more people all over the world could gain
access to it,â he said.
He also said that the book included several sections of the Ceylon
History and this too is very imperative.