Singha Malai Tunnel

Singha Malai Tunnel or Poolbank Tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in Sri Lanka.[1][2][3]

Singha Malai Tunnel
Official nameTunnel No. 14
Other name(s)Poolbank Tunnel
LocationHatton, Sri Lanka
Coordinates6°53′52.85″N 80°36′16.23″E
RouteMain Line
ConstructedF. W. Faviell
OwnerSri Lanka Railways
Design engineerGuilford Lindsey Molesworth
Length562 m (1,844 ft)
Highest elevation1,291 m
Width5.5 m (18 ft)

There are 46 tunnels along the Main Line between Colombo and Badulla. The longest tunnel is the Poolbank tunnel between Hatton and Kotagala, which is 562 m (1,844 ft) long,[4] 5.5 m (18 ft) wide[5] and has a curvature in the middle so that one end of the tunnel cannot be seen from the other end.[6] In the middle of the tunnel the gradient begins to decline, with the Kotagala railway station being approximately 23 m (75 ft) lower than the Hatton railway station.[7]

The tunnel was designed by Sir Guilford Lindsey Molesworth, the first Director-General of Railways in Ceylon (1865-1871) and constructed by F. W. Faviell.[3] The tunnel's construction represented a significant engineering feat at the time, as it was bored from both ends meeting in the middle.[8] The tunnel was named the Poolbank tunnel as it runs under the Poolbank tea estate, which was established in 1880.[9] It is also called Singha Malai tunnel, after a nearby rock formation, Singha is Sinhalese for 'Lion' and Malai for 'Rock'.


  1. Perera, G. F. (1925). The Ceylon Railway: The Story of Its Inception and Progress. The Ceylon Observer. p. 518.
  2. Ratnasinghe, Aryadasa (3 August 2004). "It happened 146 years ago: Cutting the first sod of earth for the Railway". Daily News. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  3. Ratnasinghe, Aryadasa (3 January 1999). "A historic journey in 1864". Sunday Times. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  4. Ferguson, John (1887). Ceylon in the Jubilee Year. Asian Educational Services. p. 299.
  5. Ratnasinghe, Aryadasa. "Through tunnels and rocks on the main line". Sunday Times. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  6. Ranatunga, D. C. (1 October 2010). "Tale of the "Yakada Yaka"". Daily FT. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  7. Cave, Henry W. (1910). The Ceylon Government Railway: A Descriptive and Illustrated Guide. Cassell & Co. Ltd. p. 132.
  8. Ratnasinghe, Aryadasa (13 June 1999). "Train to Badulla". Sunday Times. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  9. "Poolbank". The History of Ceylon Tea. Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company PLC. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
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