The main line was extended in 1867, 1874, 1885, 1894 and 1924 to Kandy, Nawalapitiya, Nanu Oya, Bandarawela and Badulla.  In the first century, other lines were added to the rail system, including an 1880 line to Matale; Coast Railway Line 1895; the Northern Line of 1905; The Mannar Line of 1914; The Kelani Valley Line of 1919; The Puttalam line of 1926 and the 1928 line to Batticaloa and Trincomalee. More than 80 years later, no major extension of the Ceylon railway network has been added. The main population centres and tourist destinations are connected to the railway. The operation began in 1864 with the construction of the main line from Colombo to Ambepussa, 54 kilometres to the east, and the first train was officially opened to traffic on 27 December 1864 1865. The main line was gradually extended in 1867 to Kandy, Nawalapitiya in 1874, Nanu-Oya in 1885, Bandarawela in 1894 and Badulla in 1924.  Other lines have been completed to connect the country: the Matale Line 1880, The Coast Line 1895, the Northern Line 1905, the Mannar Line 1914, the Kelani Valley Line 1919, the Puttalam Line 1926 and the Batticaloa and Trincomalee Lines 1928.  The SLR divides its network into three operating regions located in Maradana, Nawalapitya and Andhapura.  The network consists of nine lines, and several services were designated in the 1950s. From 1955 to 1970, the golden age of the Ceylon Railways was led by B. D. Rampala, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Ceylon Government Railway.  Rampala insisted on punctuality and comfort and led to the modernization of the main stations outside Colombos and the reconstruction of the railway tracks in the Eastern Province to allow heavier and faster trains.
It introduced fast trains (many of which had iconic names) and ensured that Ceylon`s rail system was up to date and that it offered comfort to its passengers.   Until 1953, the Ceylon Railways used steam locomotives. During its golden period, they switched to diesel locomotives under Rampala`s direction.  The terms of the agreement, as in the previous lines of credit that India had renewed in Sri Lanka, include an interest rate of 1.75%, with a subsidy element of 31.37 per cent and a 20-year repayment period with a five-year moratorium, according to official sources. To date, India has committed approximately $1.3 billion in credit lines for the development of the rail sector in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan rail network is 1,508 km long and has a track width of 1,676 mm. Some of its routes are picturesque, with the main line passing (or crossing) waterfalls, mountains, tea fields, pine forests, bridges and state-of-the-art resorts.