The Ceylon Government Railway allowed a maximum inclination of 1:44 (1 foot per 44 feet). Since the inclination of the Demodara mountain is higher than the standard value they had to find a different way to build the railway track
Engineers built the rail like a spiral which allows a train to go around the mountain and leave the mountain through a tunnel
If you are planning to visit Sri Lanka anytime soon, you should check out the Demodara Railway Loop! If you are catching the train from Colombo to Ella, make sure to keep a stop at Demodara Station to experience the Merry-Go-Round nature of this railway track. But if you are already in Ella, you can visit the Demodara Railway Loop by a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride from Ella town.
Why Demodara Railway Station?
Demodara Railway Loop has a long history, dating back to the 1900s because it was constructed by the British to transport tea collected from the tea plantations in the Uva region to Colombo. The tea exportation was thriving at that time as now and therefore, this was the only solution the British could think of. However, the constructions of the railway track were not any easier in a higher elevation like that because the engineers knew that it naturally came with a risk of train accidents.
According to the stories of the locals, the idea of building such a railway loop was put forward by a farmer. The farmer had suggested it be built just like how his turban had been tied. It is not truly known whether the engineers followed the suggestion of the farmer but, they made the railway track in such a way, that it had the specified gradient lower than the maximum of one foot per 44 feet (1/44), which is recommended by the Sri Lanka Railway Authority to get the trains to ascend and descend safely from a higher elevation.
It is a rather fascinating sight when the train passes at this point with the beautiful scenery of lush green mountains and rolling tea plantations. You will also see the famous hiking spot Little Adam’s Peak and the Ella Rock at a distance when you are here.
Now, if you are wondering how exactly this comes about to give such a lovely experience- the train enters the Demodara Station, goes around the loop coiling like a turban in the mountainous region and enters tunnel no. 42 only to emerge on the other side a few seconds later. Therefore, this railway track of Demodara is also known as the “Demodara Looping the Loop Track” or simply as the “Circular Loop of Demodara”. The loop of Demodara goes on for a distance of 900 meters.
Also, the Demodara Station is built over this tunnel and it is the only one of its kind in the world where there is a tunnel below a railway station, making it one of the must-visit places when you are in Sri Lanka!