Eleven years after the launch of Maitree Express, Bangladesh Railway is now eying to introduce another international passenger train service to Siliguri in India soon. The authorities concerned have already started conducting a feasibility study to introduce the new international train service to ensure regional connectivity on the basis of the trans-Asian rail link initiative, railway ministry sources said.
The new rail route is likely to be from Kolkata-Parbatipur-Chilahati-Holdibari-Burimari-Siliguri. Bangladeshi passengers will board the international train from Parbatipur station and the end station would be Siliguri, the sources added.
After the new rail route becomes operational, passengers from both Bangladesh and India will be able to visit Darjeeling, Nepal and Bhutan within the shortest possible time.
Railway ministry secretary Md. Mofazzel Hossain told the Independent: “We will upgrade about 7.5 km of railway tracks from Chilahati to Siliguri border. We will take funds from the line of credit (LOC) agreement with India.”
The secretary informed that the rail link from Chilahati to Holdibari, which is part of the broad gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri, was established during the British period.
According to the sources, a meeting on railway connectivity was held at the Prime Ministers Office on April 4, with the PMs economic adviser, Dr Mashiur Rahman, in the chair. In the meeting, Indian railways adviser Anita Barik said the Indian authorities concerned have already constructed four km of railway tracks in their territory in order to reopen the train route to Siliguri.
At present, goods train services run through four
stations—Rohanpur (Chapainawabganj)–Singabad, Birol (Dinajpur)–Radhikapur, Benapole (Jessore)–Petrapole (Bongaon) and Dorshana (Chuadanga)–Gede (Nadia).