“The service will have its inaugural haul on the 26th March. A diesel powered 10 coach train will start running twice a week from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Railway station in northern West Bengal. The station comes under Katihar Railway Division of NF Railway. After 9 hour long 513 km non-stop journey, the service will terminate at Dhaka. All immigration related works will take place at NJP and Dhaka,” said Railway DRM Katihar R K Verma.
The inter country passenger service will run with Indian Railway rack under a revenue sharing model with Bangladesh. There are two other similar Indo-Bangla passenger rail services, Moitree and Bandhan, those run from Kolkata through an entirely different route.
The new passenger service will run through a newly revamped track that used to connect the southern part of erstwhile undivided Bengal to its northern side before independence and partition of India. The rebuilt track was inaugurated in December 2020. With only around 20 km in India, almost the entire length of this is on Bangladesh land.
“New Jalpaiguri and its adjacent Siliguri are gateways to eastern Himalayan tourism destinations like North East India, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Nepal or Bhutan. We expect the service to give a significant boost to the tourism sector in both the countries,” said Sahidul Islam, DRM Paksey, Bangladesh Railway. ” It will be used for other commercial purposes too in future.” he added.
The track will soon have freight services. As expected, construction materials like boulder or brick will be major items to get shipped from India through it. Against this, Bangladesh will have smooth and seamless service to get vegetables, fishes, cloth, fruits to Indian markets in northern West Bengal, Bengal and other hilly areas.
“In addition, the rail link will significantly facilitate Bhutan- Bangladesh international trade,” said Islam. India, that separates the two countries geographically, has on-principle agreed to provide passage to Bangladesh and Bhutan for their bilateral trade and commerce.