Yal Devi (sinhala: යාල් දේවී; Tamil: யாழ் தேவி) is a major intercity express train in Sri Lanka. Operated by Sri Lanka Railways, the Yal Devi connects Colombo, the nation's commercial hub, with the northern cities of Jaffna and Kankesanturai. Since 1990, the service has had to terminate at intermediate stations, due to the Sri Lankan civil war. Currently the Northern Line is being rebuilt to allow the Yal Devi to return to Jaffna and Kankesanturai.
The Yal Devi offers two classes of travel. The train also includes a buffet car.
- 2nd class.
- 3rd class typically gets very crowded and carries only basic facilities.
Though trains had been operating on the Northern Line since the beginning of the twentieth century, the services were not named. In the 1950s named trains were established on the major lines. The Yal Devi, as a named-express train, was established to connect Colombo, Jaffna, and Kankesanturai, as commissioned by B. D. Rampala, the railways' then-general manager.
After the war ended in 2009, work started to rebuild the track and restore the Yal Devi service to Kankesanturai, under the Uthuru Mithuru Project. Initially, the service was extended to Thandikulam, but now to Kilinochchi.
The Yal Devi follows Sri Lanka Railways' Northern Line. The train begins its northbound journey at Colombo Fort. At Polgahawela, the train branches off the Main Line, moving towards Kankesanturai. It passes Kurunegala, the capital of North Western Province, before continuing to the historic cultural and religious center of Anuradhapura, the island's ancient capital around the 4th century BCE and home to many sites of religious and archaeological interest. After passing Vavuniya it reaches Omanthai. As of September 2013 the service the train terminates at Kilinochchi.[needs update] The train used to continue onwards to Jaffna. Jaffna is the main cultural centre of the north of Sri Lanka. From here the Northern Line extended to Kankesanturai, a port city, with the Yal Devi train from Colombo terminating here. Construction work on the segment of the railway track from Kilinochchi to Pallai is due to be completed in the next few weeks. The entire re-construction of the Northern Line (from Omanthai to Kankesanthurai - 146 km) is expected to be completed during the latter half of 2014.
- "The Island". Rampala regime in the local Railway History. 2010-07-19.
- "Sri Lanka Railways Timetable"
- "Dailynews". President requests patriotic citizens: Join us in building Northern rail track. 2009-03-24.
- "ColomboPage". Northbound Sri Lanka train to extend to Thandikulam. 2009-05-29.
- "ColomboPage". Train services for Northern Sri Lanka: Foundation stone laid for Omanthai rail station as Yal Dewi reaches Thandikulam. 2011-05-27.
- "A beginner's guide to Train travel in Sri Lanka . . ."
- "Yal Devi reaches Kilinochchi"
- "Sri Lanka Railways - The Northern Line"