Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Air Horns of the Class M2 Locomotives

The Air Horns of the Class M2 Locomotives
M2 icon
Gyan Fernando

One of the distinctive features of the General Motors EMD G12 Class M2 locomotives of Sri Lanka are their air horns. 
The triple air horns, which are mounted on top of the cab, are finely tuned with two of the “bells” pointing in one direction and the other in the opposite direction.
They are also controlled by a pull-cord, in traditional fashion.

AirChime Nathan 
The horns fitted on all the M2 locos are manufactured by AirChime and Nathan. AirChime and Nathan are now

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Locomotives of Sri Lanka

The Locomotives of Sri Lanka

Locomotives of Sri LankaM2 icon
Gyan Fernando
This is an open-ended web book which I published on the 23rd of November 2011. 
It is not a comprehensive account and is just a web home for some of my recent pictures.
In fact, it is just a photo-essay with minimal text.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Locotoons by Kumaran

Locotoonstm Revived!

"LocotoonsTM by Kumaran"
M2 icon
Gyan Fernando
Class M2 GM EMD G12 locomotiveSometime in the year 2002, Kumaran of Singapore did a series of delightful caricatures, of  Sri Lankan locomotives of the M Class as well as other trains, exclusively for my website. 
I cannot remember whose idea it was originally but it does not matter now.
They were drawn in his usual style of "Humanising" locomotives and in the process of drawing them, he gave them feminine personalities! 
I called them "Locotoons tm by Kumaran"

Given the limitations of my original website I don't think many people actually saw them but they do appear on a Google search and have been plaigiarised.

Unlike other things in life, cartoons never really age. I thought that they were worth a second life and have reproduced them here
Do go on and indulge yourselves!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Randles Hill: A Most Peculiar Railway Halt

Other Little Known Railway Halts
Randle’s Hill
An obscure halt with a Colonial name
Randleshill railway halt near Kandy
Long forgotten and swinging in the wind!
Randles Hill is a rather obscure and underused railway halt between Peradeniya Junction and Kandy in Sri Lanka. Although the railway line, the Kandy Spur, traverses the corridor between Kandy and Peradeniya and the track is straddled by two busy main roads, the numerous rail halts on this section are underutilised.
This is rather a pity, as the roads handle a lot of traffic in the form of buses, and a lot of passengers could use the railway if there were sufficient stopping trains. 
One of the problems is that the railway here is still single tracked. 
Although there are plans to upgrade it to dual track and surveys have been undertaken, nothing much has been done at the time of writing. A few culverts have been partly upgraded but that seems to be all. (More: Click Link)

Monday, 19 March 2012

Glenanore, Haputale


A well preserved plantation railway siding in Sri Lanka

Gyan C A Fernando

Glenanore railway halt near Haputale

Plantations railway sidings or estate platforms on the Sri Lankan Railway are little used nowadays, some have become stations and some have completely disappeared. (read more. Click link)

Rozelle: A quaint little Railway Station

A Quaint Little Railway Station in Sri Lanka

Rozelle railway station, Sri Lanka
 Gyan C A Fernando
with a cartoon by N Senthilkumaran
Thanks to Station Master Hemalal Vidyaratne for the cup of tea

Amongst the railway stations on the Up Country Line of the Sri Lankan Government Railway are a number of little known Colonial-built and Colonial-style quaint railway stations. 
The romantic sounding Rozelle is one of them.

Very little is known of how this station came to be, although one assumes it had to do with the tea plantations.
Rozelle railway station, Sri Lanka

The Name Rozelle

Even the English spelling of the name is not established as far as this station goes, and varies between Rozell e and Rozell a
The latter reflects the present day pronunciation of the name.

Most English speakers would pronounce Rozelle as “Ro-zell” (two syllables) but the Sinhalese characters spell it out as “Ro-sall-a” (three syllables).

Rozelle is a Scottish name associated with Ayrshire. (There is also a Rozelle in New South Wales in Australia.)

Rail ticket to Rozelle, Sri LankaIn Sinhala, which is a phonetic language, the spelling and the pronunciation of “Ro sall er” are clear and consistent but one cannot help thinking that, over time, the original pronunciation (and therefore the Sinhala spelling) has been “Sinhalicised”.

Officially, the station sign and the railway tickets use the first spelling but the rather recent official SLGR website lists it as Rosella, further confusing the issue!

There is no town by that name in Sri Lanka and the name seems to come from the tea plantation which is, confusingly, named Rozella.( link below)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cusco to Maccu Piccu

Another Great Peruvian Railway Journey

Cusco to Macchu Picchu

Gyan Fernando
Aguas Caliente, Peru

Note: This article was first written and published in February 2002 in my Sri Lanka Railway site. Given the passage of ten years, it needs to be read as a historical document.

 This is another rather 'touristy' but nevertheless a spectacular and enjoyable rail journey.

The railway line from Cusco ascends through a series of switchbacks and then descends to follow the course of the Urubamba River through The Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Peruvian Railway Journey

Great Railway Journeys
A Peruvian Railway Journey
Gyan Fernando

Note: This article was first written and published on the 26th of February 2002 in my Sri Lanka Railway site. Given the passage of ten years, it needs to be read as a historical document. The Peruvian Railway system is no longer the highest railway in the world.

PeruRail logo on ticket

he Peruvian Railway System is the highest standard guage railway system in the world. (The Lima-Huancayo-Huancavelica line). Unfortunately terrorist activity has forced the closure of the most spectacular part of it. What remains is spectacular in some ways, or at least interesting.
The author travelled on PeruRail from Cusco to Juliaca on the 19th of Jan 2002 (and then on to Puno).

Great Railway Journeys and other articles


Colombo to Badulla on the Udarata Menike Express
Why do you need to buy a newspaper before travelling on this train?

Gyan C. A. Fernando

This article is about train travel in Sri Lanka in the 1970s and was first published in in 2001. As such, it needs to be considered a historical article.
Revised slightly and re-formatted 2012

he railway line from Colombo to Badulla is a spectacular railway line which, over a distance of 180 miles, ascends from sea level to 6500 feet and then descends in to the Uva valley (or Uva Basin as it is usually called) to terminate at Badulla at 2000 feet.
The railway was built by the British in the latter part of the 19th century primarily for freight. (Guage: 5ft6in, 1676mm) Since then very little has been changed.
 The gradients are steep and the tight curves prevent the use of modern rolling stock. Because of the rugged terrain earthslips are common. There are 43 tunnels on this line and one complete spiral (at Demodera).