Colombo’s central station and Pettah’s pulsating heart beat
Pettah’s heart beat
If Main Str. is Pettah’s central artery, the Railway Station is its heart, pumping the much-needed blood of goods and people into the streets of Pettah every day. Fort Station is one of Sri Lanka’s main rail hubs, and easily the one that sees the most amount of daily traffic. Come in the evenings, during the rush hour madness, to see just how crowded the trains get. You see people getting into trains before they even stop to secure a space. Occasionally, fights break out over who has the right to sit where. The railway staff is also notoriously strike prone, and when this happens Colombo can almost come to a standstill.
The design was based on the Manchester Victoria Station. Having been built in 1917 and been well attended to over the years, the station runs at an amazing capacity, while retaining an old-world feel. We love the giant antique clocks, trolleys and other not-so-modern railway equipment. The smell too is distinctive, stale and acrid engine oil mixing with soot, dust and smoke. Doesn’t get any better.
Fort Station is where you can catch trains to the hill country, the South, the East, the North and pretty much anywhere else trains go to in Sri Lanka. Want to travel by train? Your best bet is probably is to actually turn up at the station a day before you leave and get your ticket at the counter. It doesn’t get more old-school than this, does it?