Uda Pussellawa Railway

Uda Pussellawa Railway (UPR) or Udupussallawa Railway (Sinhala: උඩුපුස්සැල්ලාව දුම්රිය මාර්ගය Uḍupussællāwa Dumriya Mārgaya) was a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge railway line that existed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) between 1903 and 1948. The line connected Nanu Oya railway station with Ragala via Nuwara Eliya.

Uda Pussellawa Railway
Native nameඋඩුපුස්සැල්ලාව දුම්රිය මාර්ගය
SystemCeylon Government Railway
LocaleSri Lanka
TerminiNanu Oya railway station
Daily ridership7279 as in 1934
Closed1 March 1948
OwnerCeylon Government Railway
Operator(s)Ceylon Government Railway
Line length31[2] km (19 mi)
Track gauge2 ft 6 in (762 mm)[2][3]
Highest elevation1,925.6 m (6,318 ft)
Route map
Uda Pussellawa railway
St John's
Nuwara Eliya
Nanu Oya Main Line to Badulla
Main Line to Colombo Fort


The closest station to Nuwara Eliya on the existing heavy gauge railway line (Main Line) was Nanu Oya railway station. The distance from Nuwara Eliya to Nanu Oya was approximately 6.4 km (4.0 mi) and colonial planters in Nuwara Eliya faced many difficulties when transporting goods from Nanu Oya to Nuwara Eliya. They asked for a railway track from Nanu Oya to Nuwara Eliya from the British governor Sir West Ridgeway, who was on a trip to Nuwara Eliya on 25 April 1895.[4] Considering their appeal initial work on the track was commenced in November 1900.[5] The first stage up to Nuwara Eliya was completed and opened on 14 December 1903 by Sir Henry Blake, Nuwara Eliya to Kandapola on 21 December 1903 and the final stage from Kandapola to Ragala was completed in July 1904.[2][5] The cost of construction was about £5,500 per mile and is equivalent in purchasing power to about £412,098.49 or Rs 88,358,036.72 per kilometer in 2019.[6]


The line was constructed in 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge. The total length from Nanu Oya to Ragala was 31 km (19 mi), and five main railway stations were built on the line: Blackpool, Nuwara Eliya, Kandapola, Brookside and Ragala. The highest elevation on the line was at Kandapola railway station. Its elevation was 1,925 m (6,316 ft) above sea level.[2]

Rolling stock

The first steam engine to run on this line was imported in 1902 from the Fast Stewart company in England.[2] The famous CGR class H1 steam engine has also performed on this line for few years.


In 1920 five goods trains and eleven mixed trains were operating on this line. There was a special luxury compartment for governor's journeys.

Decline and closure

In the 1940s transportation by lorries was getting popular and demand for the railway transport was gradually decreasing. Road transport in this area became faster than railway transport. So the services on the line was incurring losses day by day.

In January 1940, all passenger services were withdrawn and only two freight trains were in operation between Nanu Oya and Ragala.[7]

Considering the operational difficulties, the government decided to abandon this line. In 1942, the first stage from Nanu Oya to Nuwara Eliya was removed, and later in 1948 the remaining part up to Ragala was removed. On 2 August 1948 all services were withdrawn and the line was completely removed.[2][8]

Former stations

The Udupussallawa line had five stations: Blackpool; Nuwara Eliya; Kandeppola; Brookside and terminating at the Ragala railway station.

Although the railway line was removed the former railway station buildings were not removed and parcel transfer services were conducted from these stations for many years following the closure. Some ruins of these stations can be seen even today. Some are used as government offices.[2]

See also


  1. "The Development of Railways in Sri Lanka". Sunday Observer. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  2. "Udupussallawa Rail Track". Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  3. "අපට අහිමි කල උඩුපුස්සැල්ලාව දුම්රිය මාර්ගය". Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  4. Perera, G. F. (1925). The Ceylon Railway: The Story of Its Inception and Progress. Ceylon Observer. p. 14.
  5. Wenzlhuemer, Roland (2008). From Coffee to Tea Cultivation in Ceylon, 1880-1900: An Economic and Social History. Leiden, Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. p. 129. ISBN 978-90-04-16361-4.
  6. "Proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute". 35. Royal Colonial Institute. 1904: 118. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. "Railway Gazette International". 76. Reed Business Publications. 1942: 60. ISSN 0373-5346. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. De Silva, L. Sydney (Ed) (1964). History of the Sri Lanka Government Railway: B.D. Rampala Felicitation Volume. Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka. p. 184. ISBN 978-95-59-11900-5.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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