Coastal line (Sri Lanka)

The coastal line (sometimes referred to as the coast line or the southern line) is a major railway line in Sri Lanka, running between Colombo Fort and Beliatta, via Galle and Matara. Operated by Sri Lanka Railways, the line includes some of the busiest rail services in the country. The line has been extended to Beliatta on 8 April 2019[1] and is proposed to be extended to Kataragama, via Hambantota. With a designed maximum speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) between Kalutara and Matara, and a maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) between Matara and Beliatta,[2] the line is one of the fastest in Sri Lanka.[3]

Coastal line
A train running on the coastal line
TypeIntercity rail
SystemSri Lanka Railways
LocaleSri Lanka
TerminiColombo Fort
ServicesRuhunu Kumari Express Train
Galu Kumari Express Train
Samudra Devi
Rajarata Rejini Express Train
Opened17 December 1895
OwnerSri Lanka Railways
Operator(s)Sri Lanka Railways
Line length157.88 km (98.10 mi)
Number of tracksDouble track: Colombo Fort to Paiyagala South
Single track: Paiyagala South to Beliatta
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Operating speed100 km/h (62 mph)
Route map
Nilwala Ganga
Polwatta Ganga
Koggala Ganga
Richmond Hill
Kepu ela
Gin Ganga
Rathgama Lake
Madampe Lake
Maha Induruwa
Benthota Ganga
Paiyagala South
Paiyagala North
Kalutara South
Kalu Ganga
Kalutara North
Train Halt No 01
Bolgoda Lake
Egoda Uyana
Ratmalana & Running Shed
Mount Lavinia
Dehiwala Canal
Kirillapone Chanal
Beira Lake
Slave Island (Kompanna Vidiya)
Beira Lake
Secretariat Halt
The Canal
Colombo Fort
St. Sebastian Canal
Main Line

Route definition

The Coastal line begins at Maradana Station and runs west towards Colombo Fort. It then turns south and runs through much of Colombo parallel to the beaches on the city's west coast, passing many commuter rail stations, such as Slave Island. It passes Panadura before reaching Kalutara. The commuter rail services end as the line continues south along the coast towards Galle.

Galle station is designed as a terminus station. Thus trains have to back out of the station to continue towards Matara and Beliatta. Beliatta is the current terminus of the Coast line, though extension is under construction to Hambantota and Kataragama.


Construction and launch

This line was the second railway line in Sri Lanka. Construction works started after Colombo–Kandy–Badulla Main Line. On 1 March 1877 first train up to Panadura was commenced. On 1 February 1878, trains ran up to Kalutara and one year after that on 1 February 1879 Wadduwa Station was declared open. On 22 September 1879 inaugural opening of Kalutara North and Kalutara South Stations and ran first train to Kalutara South. On 31 March 1890 line extended to Kalutara South to Aluthgama. Then up to Kosgoda on 8 September 1892 and Kosgoda to Ambalangoda on 15 November 1893. On 7 May 1894 British government completed the construction works to Galle . After nearly a year and half later on 17 December 1895 train services to Matara commenced.

Twentieth-century growth

In the mid-twentieth century, the coastal line experienced many changes to accommodate growing traffic. Galle Station was upgraded with better facilities and modern architecture. Express trains began serving the line, including the now celebrated Ruhunu Kumari. Along with the rest of the railway network, diesel traction replaced steam locomotives on all services.[4]

Tsunami disaster and aftermath

The railway line was severely affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. A train was swept off the track, killing more than 1500, in the worst rail disaster in history.[5]

Track upgrade

In 2011–2012, the Coastal Line underwent complete reconstruction between Kalutara and Matara, to upgrade the track. The line was upgraded to be able to handle trains at 100 km/h (62 mph), allowing for shorter journey times and smoother service. The upgrade included replacing the rails and sleepers to ensure smoother and safer operation. The previously 3-hours-and-forty-minute travel time between Colombo and Matara has been reduced to just two hours.[3]

Matara–Kataragama extension

The railway is being extended from Matara to Kataragama in the Southern Railway project.[6]

Phase 1 extended the railway 26.8 km from Matara to Beliatta at a cost of US$278 million. The China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation broke ground on Phase 1 in 2013. The line includes two bridges of 1.5 km and 1.04 km in length, the longest on Sri Lanka's railway network. There is also a 615 meter long tunnel at Kekanadura.[6] The maximum track speed is 120 km/h (75 mph).[2] The Matara–Beliatta extension opened to traffic on 8 April 2019,[6] the first new railway built in Sri Lanka since independence from Great Britain in 1948.[7]

Phase 2 will serve the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota at a cost of US$600 million, and Phase 3 will reach Kataragama.[6] The alignment shifts inland after Beliatta to protect sensitive natural habitats along the coast and minimise damage to property. A feasibility study and an environment impact assessment for the Beliatta to Hambantota and Kataragama phases of construction has been approved by the Cabinet.[2] Construction has not yet begun as of April 2019.[6]

Operators and service providers

Sri Lanka Railways operates passenger services on the coastal line.

Rajadhani Express operates a premium service on certain Sri Lanka Railways trains on the coastal line, in partnership with Sri Lanka Railways.


The coastal line has a gauge of 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge.[8]

The coastal line is not electrified. Regular services run on diesel power. However, there are plans to electrify the commuter-rail network, within the Colombo metropolitan area. This includes the coastal-line segment between Colombo Fort and Panadura.[9]

In February 2017 a project to expand the single-track railway to a double-track railway from Kalutara to Paiyagala was launched [10]



Starting station Departure time Destination station Arrival time Name Frequency
Aluthgama 04.05 Galle 06.40 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 04.30 Panadura 05.25 Daily
Maradana 05.05 Panadura 05.53 Daily
Maradana 05.38 Kalutara South 07.15 Daily
Maradana 05.52 Panadura 06.47 Mon. to Sat.
Maradana 06.05 Matara 08.50 Sat. and Sun.
Maradana 06.24 Panadura 07.19 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 06.30 Matara 10.42 Daily
Aluthgama 06.30 Galle 08.17 Mon. to Fri.
Galle 06.50 Matara 07.59 Saturday only
Maradana 06.53 Moratuwa 07.28 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 07.00 Panadura 07.51 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 07.00 Panadura 08.40 Sat. and Sun.
Galle 07.00 Matara 08.16 Mon. to Fri. and Sunday
Maradana 07.17 Moratuwa 08.01 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 07.27 Panadura 08.25 Sat. and Sun.
Maradana 07.31 Panadura 08.40 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 07.35 Mount Lavinia 08.15 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 07.54 Panadura 08.51 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 08.06 Moratuwa 08.50 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 08.11 Mount Lavinia 08.46 Mon. to Sat.
Maradana 08.28 Mount Lavinia 09.06 Sundays and Holidays
Colombo Fort 08.35 Matara 11.50 Daily
Maradana 08.35 Kalutara South 10.01 Daily
Maradana 09.05 Kalutara South 11.17 Daily
Mount Lavinia 09.35 Aluthgama 10.53 Sat. and Sun.
Kalutara South 10.10 Aluthgama 10.42 Daily
Colombo Fort 10.30 Matara 13.50 Rajarata Rejini Daily
Maradana 11.10 Aluthgama 13.07 Daily
Maradana 12.05 Kalutara South 13.29 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 12.30 Kalutara South 13.54 Sat. and Sun.
Aluthgama 13.15 Galle 15.10 Daily
Maradana 13.30 Panadura 14.25 Mon. to Fri.
Ginthota 13.40 Galle 13.50 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 14.05 Aluthgama 16.11 Daily
Maradana 14.15 Matara 17.48 Daily
Galle 14.15 Matara 15.31 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 14.30 Panadura 15.35 Daily
Maradana 15.20 Panadura 16.27 Daily
Maradana 15.40 Matara 18.20 Daily
Maradana 15.50 Mount Lavinia 16.32 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 16.00 Moratuwa 16.39 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 16.10 Kalutara South 17.15 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 16.15 Kalutara South 17.39 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 16.25 Panadura 17.15 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 16.40 Matara 19.35 Sagarika Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 16.40 Hikkaduwa 18.56 Sunday only
Maradana 16.45 Induruwa 18.34 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 16.45 Aluthgama 18.51 Sat. and Sun.
Maradana 16.55 Hikkaduwa 18.51 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 17.10 Wadduwa 18.23 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 17.20 Galle 19.33 Sagarika Sat. and Sun.
Maradana 17.25 Galle 20.10 Samudra Devi Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 17.30 Galle 21.13 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 17.40 Aluthgama 19.51 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 17.50 Galle 21.26 Sat. and Sun.
Colombo Fort 17.52 Matara 20.42 Sunday only
Maradana 17.55 Matara 21.38 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 18.10 Aluthgama 20.07 Daily
Maradana 18.25 Aluthgama 20.45 Daily
Maradana 18.45 Galle 22.55 Night Mail Daily
Maradana 19.45 Aluthgama 21.40 Monday to Friday and Sunday
Maradana 19.45 Panadura 20.40 Saturday only
Colombo Fort 20.00 Mount Lavinia 20.31 Daily
Colombo Fort 20.19 Moratuwa 21.00 Special Trains 8/3
Maradana 20.35 Panadura 22.10 Mon. to Fri.
Maradana 20.35 Kalutara South 21.57 Sunday only
Maradana 21.30 Aluthgama 23.25 Daily


Starting station Departure time Destination station Time Name Frequency
Aluthgama 03.20 Colombo Fort 05.10 Daily
Galle 03.40 Maradana 07.01 Night Mail Mon. to Fri.
Aluthgama 03.50 Colombo Fort 05.40 Daily
Galle 04.15 Maradana 07.45 Mon. to Fri.
Aluthgama 04.30 Colombo Fort 06.22 Mon. to Sat.
Matara 04.55 Maradana 08.16 Sagarika Mon. to Fri.
Galle 05.00 Maradana 07.54 Samudra Devi Mon. to Sat.
Matara 05.05 Galle 06.50 Mon. to Fri.
Mount Lavinia 05.10 Colombo Fort 05.35 Intercity Daily
Aluthgama 05.20 Maradana 07.28 Mon. to Fri.
Galle 05.25 Kalutara South 07.45 Mon. to Fri.
Hikkaduwa 05.25 Maradana 07.50 Mon. to Fri.
Aluthgama 05.25 Maradana 07.40 Sat. and Sun.
Mount Lavinia 05.50 Colombo Fort 06.17 Yaldevi Daily
Matara 06.05 Maradana 08.49 Ruhunu Kumari Daily
Aluthgama 06.05 Maradana 08.08 Mon. to Fri.
Matara 06.10 Maradana 09.38 Galu Kumari Mon. to Fri. and Sun.
Panadura 06.10 Maradana 07.07 Daily
Panadura 06.30 Maradana 07.41 Mon. to Fri.
Panadura 06.55 Colombo Fort 07.42 Mon. to Sat.
Aluthgama 07.00 Maradana 09.30 Mon. to Fri.
Matara 07.10 Galle 08.13 Mon. to Fri.
Kalutara South 07.20 Colombo Fort 08.33 Mon. to Fri.
Panadura 07.30 Maradana 08.28 Not on Sundays (Mon. to Sat.)
Moratuwa 07.50 Maradana 08.34 Not on Saturdays and Sundays (Mon. to Fri.)
Panadura 08.05 Maradana 09.07 Daily
Moratuwa 08.05 Maradana 08.46 Mon. to Fri.
Galle 09.00 Colombo Fort 13.03 Mon. to Sat.
Moratuwa 09.00 Maradana 09.42 Mon. to Fri.
Panadura 09.15 Maradana 10.13 Working days only
Mount Lavinia 09.15 Maradana 09.50 Mon. to Sat.
Panadura 09.35 Maradana 10.41 Daily
Matara 09.40 Colombo Fort 13.15 Rajarata Rejini Daily
Matara 10.25 Galle 11.33 Mon. to Fri.
Kalutara South 10.45 Maradana 12.10 Daily
Kalutara South 12.20 Maradana 14.15 Daily
Galle 13.05 Aluthgama 14.43 Daily
Galle 13.15 Ginthota 13.25 Mon. to Fri.
Matara 13.35 Colombo Fort 17.14 Daily
Aluthgama 13.40 Maradana 15.31 Mon. to Fri.
Kalutara South 13.40 Maradana 15.01 Mon. to Fri.
Aluthgama 13.40 Maradana 15.35 Sat. and Sun.
Galle 13.55 Aluthgama 15.59 Mon. to Fri.
Matara 14.10 Maradana 18.12 Daily
Panadura 15.00 Maradana 15.55 Mon. to Fri.
Matara 15.15 Galle 16.18 Daily
Panadura 16.10 Colombo Fort 17.11 Daily
Mount Lavinia 16.10 Colombo Fort 16.42 Mon. to Fri.
Aluthgama 16.15 Colombo Fort 18.33 Mon. to Fri.
Aluthgama 16.15 Colombo Fort 18.45 Sat. and Sun.
Moratuwa 16.45 Colombo Fort 17.18 Mon. to Fri.
Matara 17.00 Galle 18.16 Mon. to Fri.
Galle 17.05 Aluthgama 18.57 Daily
Panadura 17.05 Colombo Fort 18.04 Daily
Moratuwa 17.10 Colombo Fort 17.49 Mon. to Fri.
Kalutara South 17.30 Colombo Fort 18.36 Mon. to Fri.
Panadura 17.40 Colombo Fort 18.29 Mon. to Fri.
Kalutara South 17.45 Colombo Fort 18.52 Mon. to Fri.
Wadduwa 18.30 Maradana 19.35 Mon. to Fri.


  1. "Beliatta – Matara railway service launched". Daily News. The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. 8 April 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  2. Range, Irangika (5 August 2013). "Wheels move on work on Matale-Beliatta track". Daily News. The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  3. Dissanayake, Ridma (11 April 2012). "Southern railway line re-opens today". Ceylon Daily News. Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  4. Perera, B. B. "Rampala regime in the local Railway History". The Island. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  5. "Survivors tell of tsunami train horror". BBC News. 30 December 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  6. "Sri Lanka opens first phase of China-financed Southern Railway line". Railway Gazette. 9 April 2019.
  7. Patranobis, Sutirtho (9 April 2019). "Under Belt and Road Initiative, China builds rail line in Sri Lanka, a first since 1948". Hindustan Times.
  8. "The Island". Rampala regime in the local Railway History. 2010-07-19.
  9. "Future Plans". Sri Lanka Railways. Archived from the original on 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  10. "Daily mirror | Tamil Mirror | Mirror Sports | e-paper | Hi TV | Life Online | Mirror Citizen | Wisden Project to convert single-track to double -track launched". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
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