The International Steam Pages


Steam in Sri Lanka 2014

Fabrice Lanoue reports on the RTC Sri Lanka 2014 tour, there are also three video clips on his YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/steamandrock. He would like to thank Yana and Nigel Dobbing for their help during this tour and Chris Bailey for the steam locomotive information.


Steam locomotives used were:

Class B1A 251 built by Beyer Peacock (6469/1928).

Class B1D 340 built by Stephenson (7155/1945)

No sign in use of B1A 213 reported not so long back nor the narrow gauge Sentinel Railcar.

On 15th February 2014, the day before the tour, we visited Dematagoda shed and workshops, 251 looked to be in good condition but several people were working on 340 which was also scheduled for the special charter trains. It seemed to be experiencing problems with the boiler tubes.

On 16th February we saw 251 from the airport branch line (Katunayake, normally freight only) to Mount Lavinia some way south of Colombo.

On 17th February, 340 didnít appear as planned, 251 headed the Viceroy Special from Mount Lavinia to Kandy. Due to awful traffic jams in Colombo, we saw it very few times.

For the next five days from 18th to 22nd February, RTC travelled on the fabulous Badulla line with Diesel traction.

On 23rd February the tour used steam (still 251) from Galoya Junction to Trincomalee on the east coast (tender first on the way back). We gave a tip to make some pictures on the turntable which unfortunately was too short to turn this locomotive.

On 24th February 251 ran on the north line from Galoya to Anuradhapura. This line reopened in September 2013 as far as Kilinochchi: (source http://www.railway.gov.lk/web/index.php?lang=en) and will soon be reopened entirely to Kankesanthurai. Next year, RTC plans to visit this terminus for the 1st time (http://www.railwaytouring.net/train-tours/sri-lanka-the-viceroy-special-2015 link dead by April 2015).

On 25th February 251 made a very long (and very delayed) journey Anuradhapura - Maho - Mount Lavinia. In the late afternoon, we were given a diesel at Polgahawela Junction, maybe to regain a little time...

On 26th February, at last we saw 340 in steam (!) double heading with 251 for a short way from Colombo to Mount Lavinia, then 251 continued alone to Galle on the south line.


251 at Walakumbura on 11th February:

251 at Wella Watta on 17th February

M5B 777 heads towards Demodara on 20th February:

251 returns from Trincomalee on 23rd February 2014:

251 is turned at Anuradhapura on 24th February 2014:

251 enters Maho Junction on 24th February 2014:

251 enters Srawastipura on 24th February 2014:

251 at Kandegoda on 24th February 2014:

340 pilots 251 at Mount Lavinia on 26th February 2014

251 passes the Telwatta Tsunami memorial statue on 26th February 2014


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk