Queen's Baton Relay: Sri Lanka by steam train

Sri Lankan dancers with Queen's Baton Queen's baton with traditional Sri Lankan dancers

The Viceroy Special steam train runs inland from the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo to the ancient kingdom of Kandy. Taking about six hours it is a thoroughly civilized, but also exciting, way to travel and the perfect transport for the Queen's baton.

Viceroy Special steam train Viceroy Special steam train

Historically the train line was the way that tea was brought across the country to be shipped to the UK and all around the world. This is why the train was, and still is, powered by British coal - continuing a great trade link of the Commonwealth. At each station, we were met by hundreds of schoolchildren and a dazzling array of traditional dancing and musical performances.

The shell and drum orchestras provided the soundtrack to the impressive acrobatics of the Paneru Netum dance, where men back flipped and leap across the platform. The dress of the Kandyan dancers, doing their Ves dance impressed the most, each wearing 64 pieces of ornament.

For much of the day it rained. Heavy, tropical rain onto the thick jungle vegetation. But it did nothing to dampen spirits for the baton's reception.

Follow the Queen's Baton Relay journey on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates from Mark Beaumont.

More on This Story

Queen's Baton Relay

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.