Dhaka-Jalpaiguri train service from Mar 26

Diplomatic Correspondent

26 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh and India are going to launch another train service between the two countries, connecting Dhaka and New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal this time.

Covering a distance of 513 km, the non-stop passenger train with 10 compartments will start running from March 26, marking the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who is due to visit Dhaka on March 26-27 to attend the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence, and are expected to flag off the new train as part of the efforts to revive the rail connectivity that had existed till 1965 between the two countries, reports the Hindustan Times.

A delegation of Bangladesh railway officers, led by Divisional Railway Manager of Paksey Mohammed Shahidul Islam, went to Siliguri on February 22 and had detailed talks in this regard.

Shahidul told the media in Siliguri on Wednesday that Bangladesh wanted to operate the train between Siliguri and Dhaka. "But Siliguri has no required infrastructure, so it had to be NJP instead," he said.

NJP has the biggest railway station in the northern part of West Bengal and is just six km away from Siliguri. It is a key junction between mainland India and northeastern India.

The Dhaka-NJP train would take the same route as the Haldibari-Chilahati goods train that was flagged off last year.The name of the new train and its fare are yet to be decided.

Custom and immigration facilities will be provided at NJP and Dhaka railway stations.

The train will run from NJP on Thursdays and Fridays and from Cantonment Railway Station in Dhaka on Fridays and Tuesdays.

"In the next phase, we‘ll connect Nepal and Bhutan," Shahidul said.

"With the partition in 1947, railway connectivity between these two stations had been severed. People of both the countries suffered a lot and wanted this route to be revived," he added.

This will be the third passenger train between the two countries.

At present, Maitree Express runs between Kolkata and Dhaka and Bandhan Express connects Kolkata and Khulna.

On December 17, the train route between Chilahati in Bangladesh's Nilphamari and Haldibari in Cooch Behar of West Bengal was inaugurated after a gap of 55 years for goods train.

Shahidul Islam said: "The train services will improve the bilateral relations between the two countries and boost the tourism industry in both the countries."