A foreigner sleeping on a trolley, due to lack of facilities at a Railway Station Tourist Comfort Center? Find out the Facts…

Misleading Social

Photos and videos shared out of context on social media is often a main source of misinformation. An image which gets shared from time to time on social media circles in Sri Lanka, again made rounds. It was claimed that due to the lack of facilities at one of the “Tourist Comfort Center” at a Sri Lankan railway station, a foreigner had resorted to rest on a trolley. However our investigation revealed that the image was shared with a misleading narration.  

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Social Media Posts

A Facebook user posted the below photo, which seemed like a Railway Station in Sri Lanka with the caption Welcome to Sri Lankain a satirical manner

Facebook | Archived 

This image was shared initially back in 2018 as reported here

We detected that many other Facebook users had shared the same image as seen below.

Most of these posts had questioned the facilities of the “Tourist Comfort Centre” of which only the name board was visible. Hence we decided to find out the facts related to this image.

Fact Check

Firstly, using keyword and image search we identified the location of the viral image, which is a railway station called Pattipola Railway Station  located 1897.5 meters above the sea level. It’s considered as the Sri Lankan railway station located at the highest altitude from the sea level.

Below is an image from the Pattipola Railway Station uploaded by one of the social media users which resembled the background shown in the viral image.

Facebook |Archived

A video related to Pattipola Railway Station also confirmed that the viral social media posts were taken from this place.

Station Master – Pattipola Railway Station

The Station Master of the Pattipola Railway Station, Suranga Senadhira revealed that the image was indeed associated with Pattipola station and the incident had occurred back in 2018 and misleading posts had been circulating ever since. Mr. Senadhira elaborated that the “Tourist Comfort Centre” at the Pattipola railway station had been inaugurated towards the end of 2014 and still functions for the use of tourists. He added that the facilities of the Tourist Comfort Center are under constant supervision and are well maintained.

However, the station master further revealed that foreigners often prefer to enjoy the scenic beauty of the picturesque Pattipola Railway Station and hence don’t use the “Tourist Comfort Center” located below the railway station as much. “Even, they are sometimes sleeping on the grass layers outside station” the station master added.

In order for us to get a better idea of the facilities at the Pattipola Tourist Comfort Center, Mr. Senadhira shared a few images of the location as seen below, which appear to be in decent condition.

We checked the Google Maps Street View & 360 and identified that the entrance to the “Tourist Comfort Center” at the Pattipola Railway station was in fact the same as seen in the images shared by the station master and the facility is located below the station level.

Street View & 360 | Archived

Also, a video about Pattipola railway station shows the entrance to the Tourist Comfort Center as seen below.

Video

Central Province Tourism Department

We contacted Shirani Hettiarachchi, Nuwaraeliya divisional officer of the Central Province Tourism Department, to get further details. She also confirmed that the viral photo was taken in 2018, however the narration shared alongside the image on social media posts were misleading.

She also said that foreign tourists like to stay outside and enjoy the beautiful surrounding area, instead of staying inside the Tourist Comfort Center. She elaborated many people are being misled due to these social media posts and some users had imagined that there was only a name board of Tourist Comfort Center without a building, as the actual facility is located below the ground level of the railway station.

She further added that not all the railway stations have such tourist comfort centers, and those with similar facilities were built by the Provincial Tourism Department and maintained by respective railway stations.

When the social media image went viral in 2018, the Minister of Tourism at that time, had sent officers to Pattipola Railway Station to investigate the issue and they found out that the allegations related with this tourism Center and railway station were misleading. This is a media report about it from 2018.

FT | Archived 

Here is our Sinhala language fact check for the misleading posts related to “Tourist Comfort Center” at the Pattipola Railway Station.

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Conclusion

From our investigation it’s evident that the image going viral on social media circles of a foreign tourist sleeping on a trolley at a railway station is not a recent capture. The image is associated with the picturesque Pattipola Railway station taken back in 2018. 

While the social media posts have implied that the foreigner had resorted to sleeping on the trolley due to lack of facilities or non-existent “Tourist Comfort Center” our investigation revealed that the well maintained “Tourist Comfort Center” started back in 2014 is still functional. 

However the Pattipola Station Master and other officials confirmed that as the facility is built below the ground level, foreign tourist who prefer to enjoy the natural scenic beauty of the surroundings do not use the “Tourist Comfort Center” as much

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Title:A foreigner sleeping on a trolley at Pattipola Railway Station due to lack of facilities at the Tourist Comfort Center?

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Misleading

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