Yal Devi Train & Why She was Christen as Yal Devi
My interest of this post is to encourage you to take New Yal Devi train to Jaffna as she is still very young and beautiful while it gives you more advantages over any other mean of traveling to Jaffna
The History of Yal Devi, Yal Devi Train
If you look back on the history of Yal Devi, Yal Devi made her maiden journey on April 23, 1956, with two other trains, Udarata Menike and Ruhunu Kumari, and because of this many, Sir Lankan’s considered them as three sisters.
There are many stories about how Yal Devi was christened but what I found was this: The British build the railway to Jaffna and it was called Jaffna mail(Night Mail), not Yal Devi.
If you study the Hindu or Tamil GODS, there is no goddess or godhead is called Yal. Then how did people of Jaffna christened the mail train to YAL?
Let me make a long history short, a blind poet from India came to Sri Lanka with his Lyre(a Yal) and He recited to King Jayatunga Vararasasinghe.
How Mail Train was christened as Yal Devi
This poet had composed many poems to praise the king of Kandy at that time. King was very happy about this blind poet and rewarded this blind poet and named him Virarakavan and also gave him a part of northern Lanka.
WOW!!!, look at the kingship at that time, If somebody praise or make him happy, they get everything. In my opinion, there is no difference in today’s politics and ancient politics.
if you are in the good books of king or president, you get everything :-). I guess it is true in corporate life too. anyway!!
They named the northern Lanka as Yalpanam(Tamil name of Jaffna). You mean Lyre and Panam mean poet. This is how the Jaffna peninsula name became Yalpanam among the people of Jaffna.
So when the train system was started by the British, it was called the mail train and the Tamil community of Jaffna called their mail train, Yal Devi(Devi mean Queen).
That is the short story of how Mail Train was christened as Yal Devi 🙂 among the Jaffna community.
Note: This is how New Yal Devi train outlook. I recorded this when we were waiting to board into the Yal Devi at the Jaffna Station at 1:41 PM
Let’s look at some statistics and figures about the rail track. The railway track distance between Polgahawela Junction(The first station after Pettah Main Station) and Vavuniya is 409 km (256 miles) and it has approximately 55 Stations.
But the last passenger train on this line ran on January 19, 1985, as terrorists bombed the Yal Devi train at Kokavil and destroyed the entire train tracks.
Why Yal Devi
The attack effectively ended the north-south rail transport and also it ceased the connection between major cities.
The northern railway track is 159 KM long and it consists of approximately 85 bridges, 16 railway stations.
Based on the “Uthuru Wasanthaya” project initiated by the Rajapaksa regime, the railway line constructed under the Indian credit line of USD 800 million, and Yal Devi’s first journey to Jaffna was on the 14th of October 2014, after 24 years.
This second maiden journey of Yal Devi to Jaffna not only connected two major cities but also connected many lives with each other and also put the foundation to rebuild Sri Lanka while uniting each of these cultures.
Once again, my wholehearted interest in this post is to encourage you to take the New Yal Devi train to Jaffna as she is very young and beautiful still while it gives you more advantages over any other mode of traveling to Jaffna.
I may be wrong, but it is my opinion.
Let me show you the facilities that it carries 🙂
New Yal Devi Train Facilities
How about these seats !!!!. if you are a foreigner or come from a very developed county, this is a very simple thing and common standard but for us, Sir Lankan, this is luxury service that we can expect from Sir Lankan government 🙂
What I mean, the entire train not just one or two apartments. The entire train is air-conditioned.
Tickets are issued based on the number of seats on the train therefore you do not find passenger traveling standing.
You do not get pressed by the other passengers when traveling as it is not jam-packed.
These seats are clean and look very new.
Use these facilities with care.
Anybody can rest your feet if you want but the only thing is, when you remove your feet, it goes back therefore be careful when you use this.
You can turn the seats to each other. Look at the above photos. Ari and Sampath were having a marketing discussion on the train :-). It has all the facilities
Wow!!!!. Look at the canteen facility. it is much more comfortable that passengers are us. most of the time, I was on these seats as you can see both sides of the railway track very clearly.
I and Ari had many discussions on these seats and tables on both the up and down journeys.
The canteen provides basic eatables. you can buy drinks, biscuits, water bottles, and Lunch packets. There is a price list and you can select whatever you want.
if you ask for a coffee, you get a Nescafe or milk Coffee.
Toile Facilities of Yal Devi Train
There are electric doors inbewteen compartments. If you wish to open, you need to press a button on the door.
There are two types of toilets and you can use either one if you want. These are very clean at the time of I took the photos :-).
Please note that it is a NO Smoking and NO Liquor Train. You can not drink or smoke inside. there are two policemen.
These policemen are very strict be aware of that.
The only negative factor of the Yal Devi is, It wobbles. The journey of the train until Omanthai station was very wobbly. It is like you traveling by an old train but this was due to the old railroad track.
You can experience the new railway track after the Omanthai Station
After Omanthai station, you feel like, you are on a bullet train.
Why not take a ride with this young and beautiful queen of Jaffna to Jaffna.