Photo by Genine Alyssa Pedreno-Andrada from Pexels

The Eternal Unhappiness of Railways

In Samoa, we noticed the inverse relationship between happiness and railways. Everyone smiles in Samoa and no one ever boards a train. Probably because there aren’t any trains, not one locomotive or passenger car anywhere in the country. Whereas in the UK, the poor country that invented railways, commuting is up there with Dante’s eighth circle of hell.

So how are we going to fare in Sri Lanka, a country with over one and half thousand kilometres of track? We’ve even booked some rail trips – on the scenic routes around Nuwara Eliya, and on the Colombo coastal link to Galle.

Although in the photos I’ve seen, some passengers seem to be smiling, not all glum-faced like those medievals on Southern Rail. And perhaps the people who aren’t smiling are tourists, on holiday from their regular standing positions in Surrey and Sussex and Bognor Regis.

It will be interesting to see how the railway equation works in Sri Lanka. Will it be misery = number of trains late X number of disgruntled passengers? Or will it be something else, involving noise, overcrowding, horror-story toilets and savoury snacks on sticks?

Soon I guess we’ll find out…

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