It was still raining in the morning. I went to the train station at 07:30 since the ticket counter was supposed to open then. There was already a line of tourists. The window didn't actually start selling tickets until 07:45 but the line went pretty quickly. I got my ticket for 2nd class at 08:45 and hustled back to the hotel to pack up and check out and carry my gear back to the train station which was about a 15 minute walk away.
The train boarding was a cluster screw. There were no seats available and the doors were clogged with people trying to get in. I went to a 3rd class car because the door was clear and some nice Sri Lankan ladies made room for me and wanted to know my story. They didn't go all the way to Ella so I had more space for the last third of the trip.
The journey took seven hours which was a lot more than I expected. A lot of people had to stand for a long time.
The scenary was spectacular with hills covered with green tea fields and a few rice patties and other crops. The tourists were hanging out the doors as the train went around curves so their friends could take action photos of them.
In Ella, I stopped for lunch / dinner before going to the hotel and had a nice beef burger and some green tea at a restaurant with good WiFi. After that I walked the rest of the way to the hotel which wasn't far but had some steep ups and downs on some tiny, muddy, slippery roads. After seeing the scenery around Ella I decided to stay another night and worked it out with the hotel guy.
After checking in, I found and followed the trail to the famous Nine Arches Railroad Bridge. There were a lot of tourists there taking photos and flying drones around. There were a bunch of tuk-tuks there and I didn't realize that there was a road. I stayed for about 15 minutes and then hustled back to town before it got dark.