A Pot Pourri on Buildings, Mechanised Transport, Et Cetera in Old Ceylon

Vinodh Wickremeratne, whose preferred ttile is “Historical Outline of Transport in Lanka” …. while the highlighting emphasis and the photos are additions by Thuppahi

The Island has experienced all types of Transportation at one time or another. The Ancient ports opened the country to Cholas, Arabs, Chinese and Europeans. Subsequently the slashing of jungles created rudimentary paths to link villages, anyhow the need to travel had been only for Emergencies, looking for matrimonial partners, special medications etc.

With Colonisation, the Need for Internal transportation was felt for Military strategies, Plantation core and peripheral needs and to keep the Administration  smooth.                                       Bullock cart transport in the 1840s  … & the Bridge of Boats across the Kelani River in 1820s

Governor Edward Barnes’s Roadways programme linked Hitherto unknown destinations, later in the 19th century the Advent of Railways opened the country further.

INDUSTRIALISATION  took its time to establish in Ceylon, always a Step behind India but Ahead of Most other Colonies.


Graphite mines have had Human powered winches for lowering Miners and hauling up Mined rock. In later years Steam power had been adopted to free Labour from the tedious task of Winching up or down, in addition to being Swift, contributing to Productivity.

The Early elevators had only the Counterweight for Safety, the Rating of which determined the Passenger capacity. A dedicated Lift Operator (LIFT DRIVER) was available to close and open the Collapsible Scissor doors, ensure that everyone was safely in or out, operating the Controls, assist the Inspectors from the DGEU on their Safety inspection.

The General Hospital had (still has) Hand powered WAYGOOD Elevators, which could accommodate a Patient on a Mobile bed. Some mansions of Colombo have had home elevators for elderly and infirm occupants. (Cigarette Merchant Abdeen’s at Bambalapitiya, Sir Wilfred de Soysa’s at Barnes Place, Lawyer Ivan Perera’s of Havelock Town were a few known locations.

There is a report of an elevator being installed at Sigiriya by the British. This had been replaced with the Fire escape circular Staircase from the EMPIRE PICTURE PALACE (Later the Regal Cinema) at a Total cost of Rs. 300/- (Ceylon Administration Reports).

Some offices had ‘Directors only’ lifts to move just one or two floors,

Slave Island had the Brooke Bond building, Boustead Brothers, Cargills Cinnamon Gardens branch (later Peking Hotel and now Osusala), CAC Press, Ceylon Cold Stores, Asambrooke Mills, J.Botticelli, Thomas Lipton,  Manning Mansions, Harisson  & Lamphard, Acland Bungalow, (some for Goods hoisting).

In later years: the GCSU Building, Peoples Bank, Inland Revenue,, John Keell Thomson & White, Aitken Spence at Vauxhall Street, AMW, Bartleet House, Hemas , Ceylon Insurance Corporation, Ramada Renaissance Hotel, Rio Hotel, Central Finance,  Hyde Park Residences,  SLFP HQ, MTN-Dialog building, 505 building, Wardrop Court, Grange Court,  Galaxy, Alliance Agencies, JAIC,  Ceylon State Mortgage  Bank (later Mahaweli),the Wekanda Business District had several new buildings.

AT Fort there wer Freight hoists on York Street to unload goods from lorries to lower goods to Basements i.e. Cargills Ltd., Miller & Co (now Laksala), Associated  Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd (Lake House), GOH.

The Landing Jetty of the CPC had Freight Hoists in addition to three Passenger elevators from Jetty level to York Street level.

Kollupitiya had the Galle Face Hotel, Temple Trees, Lee Hedges, Shaw Wallace & Hedges, AA of Ceylon, Galle Face Court I (1910), GF Court 2 (1923), Caldecott Building (Millers Colombo South).

In later years: the HNB Main Branch, Yathama Building, British High Commission, US Chancery, Liberty Plaza (the Colombo Land Development Co.), Citibank, Confifi building, Lakshmans, E.H.Cooray, A.T. Cooray, Bairaha, Uniwalker, Abans, Blackwood Hodge, Duty Free Shops,

Wellawatte Spinning & Weaving Mills had hoists to haul yarn and fabric.

PETTAH: Hunter & Co. Ltd, M.S.Hebtullabhoy at 4th Cross Street, Colombo Railway Station, Moulanas, Ceylon Breweries, Maharajah Organization,  Victoria Building and Anglo Swiss Condensed Milk Co. (later Ceylon Nutritional Foods). E.B. Creasy.

In later years: Peoples Plaza, New Supreme Courts, Capricon Towers (Bang Bang Building)


Lalsons, Seylan Towers, Duty Free Shops, POST OFFICE BANK (later NSB) Albert Edirisinghe’s Vision House, Vogue Jewellers, Silverbird /Harendra Hotel, Daya Apartments, Landmark Tower, Pearl City Hotel, McLaren building, Merchant Tower,  A.W.M. Ameer’s  Ranmuthu Hotel, HYBRITE building,  The Potytechnic  (only for the Mutukrishna family), Mount Lavinia Grand Hotel.

In later years: Majestic City, Onally Holdings (now known as Unity Plaza), the MOUNT ROYAL BEACH HOTEL. Family Super, Singer Mega, ARPICO, University of Moratuwa, Bambalpitiya Station Road Tower.

The HOTEL INDUSTRY contributed heavily to the Vertical Transportation Industry.

Wadduwa had Tangerine, Army Hotel, Blue Waters.

Kalutara North area had Neptune, Hibiscus and Mermaid.

Ceylon Holiday Resorts had Bentota Beach, Coral Gardens (Hikkaduw)

Aitken Spence had TRITON in Ahungalla.

Merivere and Serendib in the Kalutara area.

Sommervilles had Miramar and Kosgoda Beach

M.T.A. Furkan had Confifi and Eden at Beruwala. Keells Hotels had Bayroo. Wornels had Wornels Reef.Barberyn Reef was also in Beruwala.

Ceylinco SAND Bar Hotel was at Alutgama.

New Oriental Hotel, Galle also had elevators. St. Aloysius College and the Jesuit House had a Dumbwaiter, the Matara GA Residency (Hand powered Dumbwaiter), Matara Merchants, L.G.J.de Silwa., in later years: the Lighthouse Hotel at Dadella.

W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd. (Ceylon Tobacco Co) at Korteboam Street was said to have a ‘ Directors’ only’ lift.

The Jewellery Shops on Sea Street had ‘Proprietor only’ lifts.

The APARTMENT CULTURE also contributed to the VT Industry. Akbar Bros. Ltd. was setting up new Stores and offices (with passenger lifts) at Suduwella on Darley Road. Ceylon Manure Works of Alfred Baur in Kelaniya had several Hoists. The new Airport (Katunayaka International), Hotel Goodwood Plaza, Airport Garden were installed with modern self-operated elevators.

KANDY: Queens Hotel and Hotel Suisse,

Kandy in later years: The Citadel, Tourmaline, Topaz, Hilltop, Casamara,

Nuwara Eliya: The Grand and St. Andrews Hotels had early Electric elevators.

Negombo: BROWNS BEACH, Goldi Sands, Sunflower,

Dambulla had Kandalama and Culture Club.

Plumbago mines have had Steam powered winches.

The later HOTELS SYNDROME witnessed elevators in Hotel Ceylon Intercontinental, Lanka Oberoi, Taj Samudra, Colombo Hilton, Holiday Inn, Ramada Renaissance, Galadari Meridien.

ELECTRICITY had been introduced by way of Direct Current generators, initially Steam driven, later with Oil engines. The first Power Station (1896) had powered the Lobby, bar and Billiard room of the Bristol Hotel in Colombo Fort (the structure remains a CEB Tool room on Bristol Street, which should be a MUSEUM for Electricity).

The CMC Called for tenders to operate a TRAMWAY system. The Ceylon Planters’ Society was instrumental in promoting a British firm to engage in this venture. The Colombo Tramways & Electric Lighting Co. Ltd. of England had been represented in Ceylon by Cedric Boustead and his firm of BOUSTEAD BROTHERS, who were in many aspects of Engineering.

Subsequently they established the PETTAH POWER STATION next to the COLOMBO GAS WORKS around 1899, this Power Station provided the 110 Volts DC to propel the tram cars as well as the CROMPTON street lights on top of the ornate Cableway posts. (The lamps had ‘dimmed’ when a Tram was approaching).

D.J.Wimalasurendra  was the ‘Father of Electricity for the Masses ‘with the LAXAPANA Hydro electricity scheme.


The Bristol Hotel, De Mel building(Pagoda), Grand Oriental Hotel, HM Customs,  Times of Ceylon Building, COLOMBO APOTHECARIES   (Macan Marcar Building),Reckitt & Colman along with Roton Vander at NHM Abdul Cader building at Church Street, Colombo Port Commission,  P&O Shipping Building, Cargills Building, AUSTRALIA Building, Negris Building, Prince Building, LLOYDS Building , Gaffoors’ Building, NATIONAL MUTUAL  Building, Baurs  Flats,  SENATE HOUSE,  Kings House,  Mercantile Bank, National Bank, Eastern Bank, Imperial Bank, Whiteaway Laidlaw Ltd, GPO, George Steuart, Cargo Boat Despatch, LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL and the General Secretariat, ECHELON BARRACKS had Hand powered dumbwaiters, Carson Cumberbatch, Darley Butler Building (later replaced with Ceylinco Building),  JAMES FINLAY had been the early recipients of Electric elevators with OTIS equipment installed and serviced by WALKER  SONS.

The Prince Building elevators were replaced with modern units after the Greater Colombo Economic Commission (GCEC) was established. (Instructed by Chairman Upali Wijewardene)

The YMCA on Bristol Street was said to have a Hand operated Dumbwaiter to hoist Cups of tea to Hostellers on the Upper floors.

Later recipients of elevators in Fort were the HEMAS BILDING (which replaced the Bristol Hotel), State Pharmaceuticals Corp, and the YMBA.

The Otis elevators of the CEYLINCO building were replaced with GOLDSTAR units after the Rehabilitation following the Central Bank bomb blast..

The new Central Bank of Ceylon building at Queen Street (constructed by E.D.Zublin of Germany had a mix of Otis, Waygood and Schindler elevators.

In later years, the First PANORAMIC lift was installed at TRAVEL BAG on Upper Chatham Street.

The Colombo Hilton was equipped with HITACHI elevators.

Overseas Realty Ceylon Ltd. of S.P. Tao was constructing the World Trade Center, next to the Cylinder shaped Bank of Ceylon HQ.

SCHINDLER  elevator equipment from Switzerland, represented by Harisson Lister Engineering of Morgan Road  was an Alternate provider(now  represented by Trade Promotors).

Cinnamon Gardens had the Victoria Memorial Eye Hospital, J.H.Vavasseuer Ltd, National Museum, Central Hospital, NEW Eye Hospital, Bandaranaike Ward. Ceylon,  Irrigation Department at Bullers Road.

1972 was the BMICH with elevators to reach the spectators’ Gallery.

The Ceylon State Engineering Corporation erected the new structure in Slave Island.

Nawaloka Hospital, Sampath Bank were later constructed buildings with elevators in Slave Island.

The new Labour Secretariat at Narahenpitiya and the Ceylon Survey Department nearby were installed with elevators.

Apollo Hospital nearby had modern elevators.

Royal Park at Rajagiriya and Apartments in the Battaramulla area were planned with elevators (2000 Plaza, Fairway etc.)

Notable buildings NOT to have elevators were: the Bambalapitiya Flats, Anderson Flats, Government Flats of Torrington Avenue, Katubedda Flats, Manning Town Flats, Hospital Road flats, Dehiwala, Guwan pura flats,Wanathamulla.

Building Regulations decreed that any Commercial structure having Three Floors or more be installed with Branded elevators from an Approved provider.

The CECB has an Authorised Officer to permit Operation of elevators for Passenger lifting, after ensuring Safety standards (Emergency lighting in the Car, Ventilation, Tele-communicator with Building Maintenance or Security) are met.

CONVEYORS (Line Carriers)

Pure Beverages Co. Ltd. Bottling Plant at Union Place had Conveyors for their Coca Cola, LION BRAND and SHARONA products.

The Government Distillery at Seeduwa had conveyors from Stores to the Loading bay. (Historical note: the Government Distillery had been set up by T.V.Saravanamuttu with German Machinery for the Ceylon Excise Department  in 1913.)

MD (Marketing Department) Cannery at Narahenpitiya had conveyors.

The new Parliament, the 1001 Bed Hospital and the MITSUI built Admin building (Sethsiripaya) in Sri Jayewardenepura were installed with Mitsubishi elevators.

OASIS HOSPITAL, Asiri Medical, Asiri Surgical were locations with modern elevators.

Ayurveda Hospital, Arpico Battaramulla, Passport Office Punchi Borella , Lady J  also were Elevator equipped.

The new Maradana Railway Station(1908) had two Electric elevators for Wheelchair passengers.

The first ESCALATORS were installed by Walker Sons with OTIS Equipment at the new Ceylon Insurance CO Building on Queen Street.

The early elevators had as a Floor indictor, a Moving han. (as on a clock). The Times of Ceylon building , National Mutual Insurance of Australasia buildings had these.

Most old buildings had Wooden floors, as Reinforced Cement Construction (RCC) had not been introduced till 1911.

The CEB Building on Parsons Road had PATERNOSTER Continuous type elevators (Since Paternosters were banned, no further examples in this country)

The HOUSING MINISTRY at Parsons Road had several elevators.

Almost Every structure having more than Three Floors has elevators.


The CEYLON STATE CORPORATIONS ACT of the early 1960s paved the way to create many Production oriented ventures. (Featured Horizontal and Vertical transport)

The Ceylon State Flour Milling Corporation had Elevated silos (now PRIMA Grain Elevators).

Ceylon Sugar Corporation factories in Kantale and Hingurana had several hoists and Conveyor belts.

The Extraction Plant of the Ceylon Oils and Fats Corporation at Seeduwa had Freight hoists.

The Ceylon Ceramics Corporation  had the Kaolin plant at Werahera, the Porcelain plant at Dankotuwa and another plant at Warakamura (in the Matale area.) All with Line carriers.

Paranthan Chemicals Corporation had several conveyors.

Ceylon Cement Corporation’s Kankesan , Ruhunu and Tammanna Works had Private Railway yards in addition to Conveyor systems.

NYLON 6 and the HYDROCRACKER plants at Sapugaskanda had  Powered Conveyors.

The Ceylon Mineral Sands Corporation facility in Pulmuddai had several hoists and Conveyors..

Ceylon Textile Corporation established a very large mill in Thulhiriya and also in Veyangoda, both with Line carriers.

Ceylon Steel Corporation established the Smelting plant and mill at Oruwla in Athurugiriya.

The EASTERN PAPER MILLS CORPORATION at Valachehnai had Production hoists.

National Paper Corporation had Line carriers at the Embilipitiya mill.

Ceylon Tyre Corporation had several Line conveyors at the Dalugama KELANI Tyre factory.

Ceylon Glass Co. at Nattandiya had several Conveyor belts.

A.Y. S.Gnanam’s  CeYlon syNthetic TEXtiles had modern Japanese Conveyance equipment.

BATA Shoe Company of Ceylon factory in Ratmalana had several conveyors.

Maliban Biscuit Manufactories Ltd. and Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. had Conveyor systems.

UNION CARBIDE, BEREC and Elephant Lite Corporation had Finished  Goods transported by Conveyors.

The Stanley Power Station at Kolonnawa had Electric Conveyor belts to feed Coal to boilers. First, the Railway wagon with coal was hoisted by a Grabber, which tipped the wagon  to drop coal to the Belt.

The Uda Walawe Power Station had an elevator to move Staff down and up to the Turbine hall.

The COLOMBO PLAN office at St. Michael’s Road, Polwatte had an Upper floor office where their Car park on the same floor was accessed via a Motor Car lift.

Kollupitiya also had Seylan Towers,  Crescat and the Tourism Authority as Elevator equipped buildings

Motor Vehicle Service stations had Bethlehem Steel Corporation hoists.

The Construction of Elevators have  experienced Fatal accidents within the Elevator shafts of Technicians falling down and  tools dropping on Maintenance people at the Bottom of the shaft.

Vertical Transportation Specialists were Gihan Salgado, Anura Wijayawardhana, P.J.  Perera, Hemal Dias, Zareer, among a Few others.


The system used a 3 foot 6 inch gauge network originating from their Workshop/barn at Gasworks Street, The Grooved rails were from KIANCID, the routes being: from the Colombo port on York Street (with the Option of being directed  left to Prince Street), The National Bank, Bristol Hotel, Registrar Generals Office, PWD,  Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Auction Room,  CTO,  Fort Railway Station, Chalmers Granary, St. Philip Neri’s Church, Pettah Railway Station, Gasworks halt,  Colombo Academy (Royal College), Mounted Police, Colombo Railway Station, Ceylon Technical College,  Railway Workshops, Elphinston Theatre, New Maradana Railway Station, Buddhist Boys English School (Later Ananda College), General Hospital, Borella TERMINUS.

The Route length had been 7 1/2 miles for the Entire system.

Tramcars on their Return from a terminus were switched on to the Next line, a Pointsman walked or bicycled to throw the Ground lever to direct the car to the Return line.

The FIVE MINUTE HEADWAY ensured Minimal waiting at a Boarding point.

The Last Tram halt Signboard was noticed at the end of St. Joseph’s Street in Grandpass.

In 2005, the abandoned Pettah Power Station had posts with Bits of Tram cable still strung on them.

Turning left at Prince Street: Times of Ceylon, H.W Cave, Eastern Bank, Walker Sons office, BAGHDAD GATE, Hunter & Co, Pettah Consistory on Main Street, (option of being directed right to EDINBURGH MARKET, the Town Hall, COLOMBO GAS & WATER CO, Tramway Shed, the Wholesale shops and on to NORRIS ROAD.)

If Directed straight: at Main Street to Dam Street, C.V.Bhatt, Colombo Kachcheri, Mooremens’ Mosque at  Moor Street, Messenger Street, Skinners’s Road North, Dr. Sulaiman’s Hospital, Ceylon Trading and the proposed Industrial Estate of LEVER BROTHERS, St. Josephs School, Grandpass,  Post Office, to Nagalama Road to the old Ferry Boarding point near the Grandpass Market (Terminus).

The cars had been imported from J.G. Brill & Co, and some British suppliers, the early cars being of the ‘toast-rack’ styling,) Later cars had more modern Cladding.

The Upper speed was said to be 10 mph on longer sections.

4 Wheel and Bogie type Eight Wheelers were in the system.

Bi-directional running was possible.

The Fare had been 2 cents per Section.

A.E.Gunasinghe’s Tramcar strike ruined the company, which resulted in the Company letting go of the Power station to the Department of Government Electrical Undertakings (DGEU).

The decrepit Tramways, and the cars were sold to the CMC for Rs. 4 million in 1943, the Passenger Transportation Department of the CMC operated the Tramways till 30TH June 1960, after which the cars were auctioned at Rs. 100/- each as Scrap.  A.Y.S  Gnanam bought almost all.

A Colombo Plan/Canadian Aid for Ceylon initiative had bee: extending the CMC TRAMWAYS to Slave Island and Kollupitiya, upgrade the Electrical system with Specialists from Toronto being made available.

Relaying new rails to replace the 19th century rails, Separate Street lighting from the Tramway electrics, New cars, (some coloured Light blue with Air-conditioning) .

The Tram Driver was known as the Motorman, who had a Control tower with the Regulator, this was operated while standing.

Notable accidents were due to cyclists having their tyres stuck in the Groove and falling. Also an Intoxicated man staggering out of a Fort bar while reading the Racing sheet had been decapitated due to the Conductor carelessly letting a Steel sheet sticking out of the window. (The Headless torso had staggered some distance before falling down.)

Electric Trolley Buses had been introduced  on a Suggestion by Dr. N.M.Perera almost on the same routes, with the addition of the Grandpass to Madampitiya route and linking Maradana junction with Armour Street junction on Panchikawatte Road.

Tram rails appeared off the Tarred over road surfaces at the end of Main Street and the entrance to Nagalagam Street.

The tussle for the Electrical feed took the Introduction of Trolley services to 1953.

Trolley buses had a Twin cable power collection and could not share the Tramway electrics. Also they had been AC compared with DC for   Trams.

Double deck buses and Single deck type were in the system.

BICC had laid the Cabling for trolleys, supervised by Mr. Gray.

Single deck Trolley buses after withdrawal were sent to PWD Sites as dormitories, some were used as Bus trailors and some were modified as Poultry coops.

The Last Trolley bus spotted was a Tool room at the SEC yard in Peliyagoda.

The Bus shed and workshop was accessible from Prince of Wales Avenue and Bloemendahl Road.

Trolley bus posts are still to be seen on the bridge separating Fort with Pettah, and at New Moor Street,

The Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium had posts with cables till it was rehabilitated for the SAARC Games.

Trolley buses were Double deck from B.U.T with Metro-Cammell or Weymann bodies, Single decks had East  Lancashire bodies. Early registrations were CV, later 33 SRI as on Petrol fuelled vehicles.

The fare was 25 cents for the Longest run. After a strike in 1964 the system was halted on 1st December, after which the Shed was the Sugathadasa Indoor stadium. Trolleys had an emergency Accumulator power supply to ‘limp’ cars out of the way during Electricity failures (range of Five miles).

Conductors’ Quarters were opposite what is now the Sugathadasa Stadium


Personal: as a toddler I have been taken on the LAST RIDE, (I remember the Clanging of the bell, screeching wheels and crowds. Parents informed on my 10TH Birthday that it was from Main Street to the Depot/Shed.

Akila Abeypala, Electrician of the CTB (familiar with Trolley bus electrical systems)

As a Birthday Treat I was taken on a full Guided tour of the Tram and Trolley bus routes.Grandparents, Great grandmother (1887-1976).

Fred Medis, travelled in these as a young child in the 1930s.

Tram Driver Manikkam (1910-2015) and Numerous others who commuted.

Mr. Yusoof  (Time keeper of CMC TRAMWAYS and CMC Bus Department).

Eng. K.A.D.Nandasena.

GCEC Chairman Upali Wijewardene

Victor Melder and Udaya Peeligama of Melbourne

Hideaki Takaura (JBSI-JAICA  Engineer)

Senior Professor Amal Kumarage of the University of Moratuwa.

Malcolm Chase/Bateman book.

D.M.Sampath, Enthusiast of CTB.

CMC Centenary Souvenir.

Mr. Hanks, Assistant to Gray of BICC who strung the Trolleybus cables.

Mr. Anura Wijayawardena (Retired Engineer of Aitken Spence Elevators) more than 40 years with OTIS at Walker Sons,  Otis Dubai and Aitken Spence.


The Boustead bungalows were Storm Lodge and Monsoon Lodge (later Colombo Swimming Club)


A Returning Colombo resident British passenger off a Steamer had the option of walking to the Steamer Agent at Leyden Bastion, arrange his Baggage to be delivered home, visit Lovers Travel Agency at York Arcade, drop in at the National Bank of India, Rickshaw to Lloyds Insurance at Prince Street, visit Whiteaways or Colombo Apothecaries Department Stores (to be met by the Manager to be taken on a Full tour of the departments).

After arranging Home delivery of his Purchases, rickshaw to the AA of Ceylon at the Chamber of Commerce building, meet a Representative of Walker Sons to look at Sales literature of the latest Austin cars.

Hosted by Walkers to Drinks at the Bristol Hotel bar resulting in him ordering a small Austin motor car for the wife, a petite car for the petite lady (with Free Driving lessons), visit the CTO next door to Telegraph his associates in Rangoon, Penang in the STRAITS and Madras that he has arrived safely.

Book a Telephonic call to Rowlands Garages, arrange for his Chevrolet to be taken away to the Garage for a full LUBRITECTION Service, have a Radio receiving set with Speaker professionally installed, install a Stronger electrical system to support extra Fog piercing lamps, a Revolving Searchlight for SHOOTS and Reversing, fit a Locking cap on the Motor spirit tank.

Board a tram to Borella, rickshaw to his residence in the Cinnamon Gardens, to enjoy a Cold bath, wear only a Lungi, ‘down’ a Pitcher of Ice cold Ceylon beer while being updated on Social events by the family while Chilling out under the fan.

Enjoy long missed Mildly flavoured Ceylon fowl curry with a  Cup of Steamed rice, Full boiled egg Crumbed and fried, Cadju nut curry, Cold Ceylon fruit salad with Cocoa iced cream.

Shift to the Office table, light his pipe, read the missed Ceylon Examiners and Observers,  have his native Clerk/ Stenographer update on Bills, nap till evening.

His Diary would be entered with Golf at Ridgeways, Board meeting, Walkers Civil and Mechanical Engineers  to check  the Possibility of Installing of an Electric elevator at residence for Mother in law.

In the evening, his Ceylonese mates would arrive in a phaeton of Arnolda’s or Walles’s to go to the Colombo Club.

After a week, make use of the Arthur Lover arranged Tour: by Train to Nanu-Oya, by UPR to Newra Ellia, Horse gig to the Hill Club (Hotels were for Merchants and brats) enjoy Rounds of Golf, the Races, tour the Hills etc.


The Tramways Inspectors were de Bruin (nicknamed Kolikuttu as he was short and plump) and Mackenzie (nicknamed Aanamaalu as he was very tall), their bungalows were in Punchi Borella.

There was a rumour that a tram was at CTB Werahera, (sold for Scrap), the Nearest thing was an effigy of a tram constructed as a Vesak attraction on a vacant land (later the Car park of the Passport office).

This was innovatively powered by Coconut scraping machine motors and could move Five Kids on a rudimentary track (about Five Yards), the Motorman was a Glass fibre School lab skeleton dressed with the uniform of Colombo Tramways. The Electrician (Akila Abeypala) had taken great pains in the aspect of Electrical Insulation.

Boustead Brothers office had been on Union Place (later the business was bought by Chittampalam Gardiner)

The Only places where Tramways crossed the Railway lines were at Norris Road, to cross the Cement Siding approach, at Prince Street to cross the Exit section of the Cement Siding, and the Chalmers Granary line, in addition at Nagalagama Road to cross the Mutwal Railway.

At Maradana, the Over-bridge took the Trams along with the Motor road over the railway.

Some Tea plantations had Cableways to transport Sacks of Leaf from the Field office to the factory. Roeberry Madulsima had a Powered haul up arrangement as the factory was at a Higher Location than the Field Office. Ellerton Rakwana had a Gravity Down arrangement, since the fields were Higher than the factory.

During Earthslips while the Kandy railway line was under construction, Aerial Roapways had transported Labour and material.

The BRITISH CEYLON CORPORATION (BCC) had an Internal Rail trolley system to transport Copra bales.

The SALTERNS at Puttalam, Elephant Pass and Hambantota had a 2 foot gauge Light railway to move Harvested salt. (Historical note: the Britto family had owned the Puttalam Salterns, after which the SALT SUPERINTENDENT of the Ceylon Salt Department administered, eventually taken over by the Ceylon Salt Corporation.)

Wikipedia misleads by showing a photo of a tram with No. 70. This cannot be, Ceylon has had only 52 cars which included four Spare cars. The photo is of a Single direction   BOMBAY or a MADRAS tram.

Vinodh Wickremeratne ,  29th January 2023.

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