Ceylon Government Railways

Ceylon Government Railways (CGR) was developed in the 1850s to develop and unify Sri Lanka and was built by the British Colonial Government in 1864. The first train ran on 27 December 1864 and the main line between Colombo and Ambepussa officially opened on 2nd October 1865. The railway was initially built to transport tea and coffee to Colombo. Major population growth meant that passenger traffic increased and in the 1960s passenger traffic overtook freight as the main source of revenue. The railway network comprised of nine lines radiating from Colombo and connected many population centres and tourist destinations. Extensions were made to the main line in 1867, 1874, 1885, 1894 and 1924, extending its service to Kandy, Nawalapitiya, Nanu Oya, Bandarawela and Badulla, respectively. Many other railway lines were added to Ceylon Railway System within the first century of its life, such as a line to Matale in 1880, Coast Railway Line in 1895, Northern Line in 1905, Mannar Line in 1914, Kelani Valley in 1919, Puttalam Line in 1926, and Railway Line to Batticaloa and Trincomalee in 1928.

Until 1953, Ceylon's railways operated steam locomotives. In the golden era, it enhanced its service by changing to diesel locomotives, under the leadership of Rampala. Various types of diesel locomotives were added to the service. Today the company is known as Sri Lanka Railways as Ceylon gained independence in 1948 and changed its name to Sri Lanka when it became a republic in 1972.