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Steam Locomotives of Sri Lanka Railways

There are 37 steam locomotives currently in Sri Lanka and 03 of them are in operational state attached to Viceroy Special. After General Re-classification of 1938, extracted from the working timetable of 1955 can be found below.


Wheel Arrangement

Sub Classes




A1, A1a,A2, A3a, A3b, A3c, A3d




B1a, B1b, B1c, B1d, B1e, B2a, B2b, B2c, B2d, B2e, B3a, B3b, B3c, B4a, B4b, B4c, B5, B6, B7, B8a, B9, B10

Some B1's were the top Governor Class



C1 and C1a

Garratts, C1 of 1928, coal fired, and C1a of 1944 later converted to oil firing



D1, D2a, D2b, D2c, D3a, D3b, D3c (College Class)

Tank locos, all scrapped



E1a, E1b, E1c, E1d, E1e

Tank locos



F1a, F1b, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8

All scrapped



R1, R2, R3

Steam railcars, Sentinnel/Clayton, some were later fitted with small under-floor diesel units and were reclassified T2

Narrow Gauge




Beyer-Garratt of UPR, built 1930



J1, J2a, J2b





Kelani Valley Tanks. Two were used for the film "Bridge on the River Kwai"



L1a and L1b

Uda Pussellawe Tanks



V1 and V2

Railcars, Sentinnel

Some more sub classes would have been existent, but the locos may have been scrapped before 1955. (Information for this article was obtained from the working time-table of 1955). Steam locomotives were numbered from 1 to a projected 499, but do not appear to have gone beyond 362. Diesels start with No. 500 (G1) and the last number allocated is 848 for the M8 in late 1998. The 15 sets of S9 starts with No. 849.

Confusion reigns as some older locos appear to have later serial numbers and some newer locos have older serial numbers. The original locomotive No.1 of 1864 (named Leopold) and subsequent batches had numbers, but most had not survived to re-classification in 1938. (Original Locomotive No.1 was scrapped in 1934). Loco No. 1 in the re-classification was a B2a which survived beyond 1969. Class E1 No. 93 of 1898 is the oldest CGR steam loco remaining – now at Dematagoda Running Shed, this loco was reported to be working in the Trincomalee area for the Prima flour mill in the 1980s.

Classification was by wheel arrangement, sub-classification was by weight, modifications, heating type, boiler capacity etc. The last batches of locos imported were the C1a, B1d and B1e classes in the 1940s. There are instances where the same loco has two sub classifications after modifications – eg. F1a was re-classified as F2, D2b and D2c became D3, F1b s were uprated to F2 spec etc. All CGR locos were erected in Britain by Robert Stephensons, Hunslet, Kitsons, Dubs, Vulcan Foundry, North British, Bagnalls, Armstrong-Whitworth and Beyer-Peacock. Steam locos were retired by programme from 1969 onwards.

The Ports Authority had some 1894 0-4-0 Saddle Tanks and a 0-6-0T “Jinty” type.

The Oils and Fats Corporation at Seeduwa had 0-4-0T locos reportedly of the fireless type. For reasons of safety, these locos were steam charged from a steam generation room, did their bit of indoor movements, came back for a “recharge” (like some people !) and went again on movements. Since 1993 these locos along with the Ports Authority locos have been brought to the Running Shed for eventual placement in the Railway Museum.

Preserved Steam Locomotives

In running condition

No. 251 B1a "Sir Thomas Maitland"

On Viceroy Special

No. 340 B1d "Frederick North"

No. 213 B2b

No. 240 B8c

No. 220 J1

No. 331 V2

Non runners

No. 237 B8

At McCallum Road former Museum premises

No. 347 C1

At Ratmalana Workshops

No. 93 E1

At Dematagoda, in varying state of disrepair

No. 106 K1

No. 160 J

No. 174 J2

No. 176 J2

No. 177 J2

No. 221 J

No. 264 J1

No. 292 J1b

No. 332 V

No. 346 C1a

No. 352 B1e

No. 294 B1c (Boiler only)

No. 135 B9

Outside Colombo Fort Railway Station

No. 203 L1b

At German Railway Training School

Credit – Model Railroad Club Sri Lanka, Farrail, Steam Locomotive Info

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Viceroy Special

An airfield in the middle of Colombo