My Personal Experience of booking a Yal Devi Express Train
If you decided to visit Jaffna, the very first thing that you need to do is to book the Yal Devi Express train.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of traveling by Yal Devi Express Train but I think, it is the best option if you want to reduce the traveling time and traveler’s fatigue. Of course, you might miss some sceneries and historic places to see if you travel by train as it does take a different route and will not stop wherever you want it to stop :-).
In my opinion, If you are planning to visit Jaffna first time, then Yal Devi is the best option. Believe me !!!!
There is two options that you can take when you try to a book the Yal Devi Express Train
Note: This is the Pettah railway station and It does not look very fancy compared to Jaffna Station. If you go by vehicle, you may not find a parking space very easily.
Book Online via Mobile and Collect the ticket
Visit the Pettah station physically and book the Yale Devi
This post is about how to book the ticket by visiting the railway station and I shared a few links so that you can use the Mobile Call Center to book the ticket. But bear in mind that, you need to visit some railway station to collect the tickets 🙂
1. Before doing anything, you need to book the ticket so you need to decide the days with your friends and families.
Note: NOW you have to book your ticket within a month. For example, If somebody needs to book a ticket for July 16th, they /can book the ticket after June 17th. Please read the comment of Ravidu[Updated 02-Aug-2016]
2. Keep a few options on selected days. For example, If you want to visit Jaffna on Jan 20th for 3 nights, then you have another option like the 2nd of Feb for 3 days. You might not get the dates you want. Be careful about weekends and long weekends. If you need to book a long weekend and weekend, then it is better to book well in advance, at least 15 days or months in advance. Be aware of school vacations. I could not book the days that I wanted so I used the second option.
Hey, I had to come back and discuss with my friend about the second option as he wanted to check with my wife, of course, I had to check with my wife too. But If we both had options, I would have booked the ticket without visiting twice. 🙂
3. Make sure, you book the return ticket also while you book inbound ticket .you might get the outbound ticket available days but not the return ticket therefore you have to plan well and keep all your options open. Believe me, this is not easy.
This is what happened to me, When my option was not available, I called my friend then the ticketing officer told me to move out from the counter as I was taking a bit of time. He called the next person. I had to go back to the end of the queue, therefore, I came back home :-((
4. You may need at least one hour to do this booking. Do not go during the lunchtime or tea time of the Railway staff, there is a lack of staff at that time and it takes a very long time and also the queue is also very long. The best time is after 9:00 AM and before 12:00 PM or after 2:00 PM and before 3:30 PM.
5. If you want to book the Yale Devi Express Train, you need to visit the counter “Berth/Intercity Serration office”.It is the counter, it is another section or room. There are a few counters. There is a big board and it can be noticed. it is very big.
6. Do not go to the “89”.There is a big board like the one below. It is not the place. Follow my instructions carefully !!!
7, When you enter into the “Berth/Intercity Serration office” section, there are a few counters. Do not go the left counter. As you enter into the room, just turn on to the left.
8. There is an information counter and supposed to be a lady all the time to answer your queries, but she does not stay every time at the desk. She goes and gossips at the ticketing counter. We can not blame her as just sitting there and doing nothing is a hard job.
I did not talk to her therefore I do not know whether she can speak English or Tamil. Try your luck 🙂
Note: I went twice to book the ticket. I took this photo on the first day as she was not at the desk. I saw she was inside other ticket issuing counter 🙂 jabbering away.
9.If you tell them that you need to buy a ticket to go to Jaffna. They will give a wrong ticket as there are many trains that go to Jaffna at different times. Then how? Look at the Jaffna train schedule
10. This is how you say “I want Yal Devi Air Condition Express Train which leaves at 5:50 at Pettah station” and also tells that “I need Rs 1,500 ticket”. I am NOT joking, you have to tell all these keywords if you need to get the right ticket as there are many trains to Jaffna and there are may Yal Devi’s.
11. If you purchase the right ticket, It looks like below.
Please read the ticket description very carefully. Since Jaffna train starts from “Mount Latvian”, ticket shows the starting point of the train but you can board into the train from Colombo Fort Pettha Station at 5:50 AM
Check the Price, if you book for 3 people, they will give you one ticket but if you ask a separate ticket, they do issue 3 tickets. Since the price is Rs 1500/= per person, it should be multiples of 1,500.
Destination of the trip as Kankesanthurai but do not worry you can get down from Jaffna station. The return ticket says it starts from Jaffna. Bit funny but this is the reality therefore do not worry.
If you buy the right ticket, then keep it safe. You need these tickets until you come back to Colombo again.
Use this link to Book the Yale Devi Express Train using Mobility Call Center facility
Please note that I booked the ticket on the 20th of March 2015 therefore counters and environment of Pettaha Railway station can be changed now therefore use your common sense to get things done when you book the Yal Devi Express Train.