There is no direct train from Kandy to Galle. The quickest route is via Colombo, where you change train. Both legs of the journey are very scenic, although different: the first one through mountains while the second one follows the coastline.
I took the Intercity train from Kandy to Colombo at 6:15am and was pleasantly surprised to realise that my 1st class ticket (Rs 800, bought two days in advance) entitled me to a seat in the observation car, the one at the rear of the train, with a large window looking back along the tracks.
The train travelled at snail pace, rolling and rattling through the mountains, with amazing views of the tropical forest wrapped in the morning mist. Every now and then, short tunnels interrupted the view. School kids and workers would sometime appear out of nowhere and cross the tracks as soon as the train was gone.
The mist gave an almost magical touch to the landscape and I watched the scenery in awe.
We arrived at Colombo Fort railway station just before 9am, after almost three hours.
Colombo Fort was bustling with energy and was as chaotic as ever. I bought a 2nd class ticket to Galle (Rs 180) and waited for my train to arrive.
At 10:45am the slightly grubby train started its journey south, following the coastline so closely that for the first hour I could almost touch the ocean. I had managed to get a window seat and could really enjoy the amazing sea view: miles of blue waters, sand and palm trees. Villages and towns were dotted along the railway line, and villagers seemed to enjoy watching the trains go past.
We made it to Galle in just over two hours. The whole journey from Kandy to Colombo took almost 7 hours but I really enjoyed it!