Work on the iconic railway station being built in Cox’s Bazar in the shape of oyster as part of the Chattogram-Dohazari-Cox’s Bazar-Ghumdhum railway project is progressing fast.
If everything goes well, the dream train service from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar will be launched by June this year, much earlier than the extended deadline, which will boost the country’s economy by attracting tourists to the beach town from home and abroad.
“On completion of the construction work, a trial run of trains will be conducted on the route,” he said.
A new horizon will be opened in the country’s communication system with the implementation of the railway project from Dohazari in Chattogram to Ghumdhum in Bandarban via Ramu in Cox’s Bazar.
This is a fast-track project. As tourists are primary target for launching train service on this route, various plans have been taken to this end.
The oyster-shaped railway station being built in Cox’s Bazar with international standard will itself attract more tourists.
The station will have locker facility for tourists so that they can keep their belongings there. As a result, tourists will be able to leave Cox’s Bazar without staying at any hotel at night.
According to the project details, the work is underway to build a 128-km railway track connecting the beach town of Cox’s Bazar to the country’s main railway network.
A total of 88-km rail track will be installed from Dohazari in Chattogram to Ramu of Cox’s Bazar, 12kms from Ramu to Cox’s Bazar and 28kms from Ramu to Ghumdhum.
Bangladesh Railway sources said the project was originally scheduled to be completed by June 2022 but the deadline was extended by two more years until June 2024.
According to the project officials, there will be nine stations on the route -- Satkania, Lohagara, Chakaria, Dulahazra, Eidgah, Ramu, Cox’s Bazar sadar, Ukhiya and Ghumdhum.
A computerised interlocking system will be used for railway signalling control as well as a digital telecommunications system.
A junction will also be built at Ramu –one line towards Cox’s Bazar beach and another towards Ghumdhum under Naikhongchhari upazila of Bandarban.
Three large bridges will be built over the Sangu, Matamuhuri and Bakkhali rivers while 43 small bridges, 201 culverts and 144 level-crossings will be constructed to implement the project alongside a flyover which will be built in Keuchiya area.
The railway track will be connected to the trans-Asian railway network and it will act as an important route for regional and sub-regional railway communications, officials said.
Apart from making the journey easier, more comfortable and cheaper for local and foreign tourists travelling to this region, this railway project will connect Bangladesh’s railways to India, Myanmar, China and Turkey.
It will also contribute to the economy by boosting business and commerce.
Abul Kashem Sikder, general secretary of Cox's Bazar Hotel Motel Guesthouse Owners, Association, said, “The face of Cox’s Bazar will be changed if the long-awaited railway service is launched. A new horizon will be opened in communications. Due to easy communications, the flow of tourists in Cox’s Bazar will be increased by manifold.”
Locals said if this project is implemented, a safe, comfortable and affordable communication system will be developed for tourists and local people. There will also be significant cargo movement on the line. Fish, salt, paper raw materials, forest and agricultural products can all be easily transported at a convenient cost.
In April 2011, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of this project kicking off the construction work. However, construction was delayed due to legal complexities and other problems.