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Government Gazette

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 ‘A comprehensive Guide to information of Sri Lanka’ 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 visitors.

Many endorsed this view and said that both the Ministry of Railways and the SLTB should work closely to improve this avenue of promoting tourism.

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 observation car.

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.

“What the Railway department must try to do is to give only around 15 percent to the employees and provide the balance to the public,” 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.

“However 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,” he said.

Minister of Tourism Milinda Moragoda said that the book showers a comprehensive overview of Sri Lanka. “The SLTB would soon upload this book on a web site so that more people all over the world could gain access to it,” he said.

He also said that the book included several sections of the Ceylon History and this too is very imperative.


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