The Railway from Colombo up to Ambepussa was ceremonially opened on December 27, 1864 by the Duke of Brabant, heir to the Belgium throne (later King Leopold II) who happened to be holidaying in the island at the time. Many guest invitees, including Sir Henry Ward, participated in the historic journey.
The first train was hauled by a 59-ton steam locomotive originally deployed for transporting ballast to work sites. Leaving Colombo at 9 a.m. the train reached Ambepussa by 12 noon, covering a distance of 54 Km.
145 years later members of CREC did the same trip from the present Colombo Fort station to the current Ambepussa station. The diesel electric S10 DMU hauled the members to Ambepussa only 30 minutes ahead than the first steam engine! Of course the current passenger train has to make scheduled stops and also give right of way for express trains which were not existing 145 years ago!
Source: Ceylon Railway Enthusiasts Circle (CREC)/SLRF