The government has undertaken a master plan to bring 64 districts of the country under rail connectivity. As per the Railway Master Plan, the government would implement 230 projects in six phases at a cost of Tk 5, 53,662 (Five hundred fifty three thousand six hundred sixty two crore) crore by 2045. Under the ambitious project, Bangladesh Railway will be connected with the Trans-Asian rail route, said Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan.
Following the directives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Ministry of Railways is implementing the plan to modernise the rail sector to ensure comfortable and quick transportation of the passengers. The ministry is bringing the latest railway technologies from different advanced countries like Japan, South Korea, China, Indonesia and India.
Commenting on this, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said, “We are taking technology and ideas of modern rail system from developed countries like Japan, South Korea, China, Indonesia and India. Recently we have visited India and China to know about development of rail communication.” “We are working sincerely to take the railway communication system to the people’s doorsteps and planning to further enhance connectivity with our neighboring countries through railway communications,” the minister also said.
Officials at the railways ministry said the existing rail network across the country was established during the time of the British Empire. None of the previous governments of independent Bangladesh took any initiative for the expansion of rail network in the country. However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is determined to develop the country’s rail communications. Her government has been giving the sector increased budgetary allocations based on priority since assuming power in 2009. She has also established a separate railways ministry.
The minister further said “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has emphasised developing the rail communications and the government has allocated the highest amount of money for the railway sector. We are working to implement the master plans to develop the country's rail sector.” The country's rail communication system will be world class.
Padma Rail Link
The construction of 172km Padma Rail Link project is going on in full swing. It will open in June 2021. It will connect Dhaka, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Madaripur, Faridpur, Gopalganj, Narail and Jashore. Under the project, a 23km ballast-less elevated viaduct rail line will be constructed.
The government is going to introduce four high speed rail lines -- Dhaka-Chattogram, Dhaka-Khulna, Dhaka-Rajshahi and Dhaka-Sylhet – in the country.
The feasibility study of the Dhaka-Chattogram route has already been done, while the feasibility studies of the rest three rail route projects are going on in full swing.
Now the ministry is working to prepare the detailed design of the first ever bullet train in the country. A Chinese firm has conducted the feasibility study of the Dhaka-Chattogram line and the government has approved it to build the 270-km double track dual gauge rail line. The existing 320-km rail track between Dhaka and Chattogram has become incapable to handle the growing demand of train journey as a safe mode of transportation.
As per the plan, the rail will run on diesel-electric traction locomotives over standard gauge tracks and the speed of the train would be 160kmph. The speed would increase to 200kmph if it runs entirely on electricity. Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar-Dohazari-Ramu-Ghundum Rail Line Besides, construction of Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar- Dohazari-Ramu-Ghundum rail line project is going on in full swing to boost the Trans-Asian and regional connectivity. The Asian Development Bank has agreed to fund for constructing the rail route. The project was taken up 58 years ago for connectivity between tourist town Cox's Bazar and commercial capital Chattogram.
AKHAURA-SYLHET DUAL GAUGE RAIL LINE
On the other hand, the much-awaited construction of 239-kilometre dual gauge rail line from Akhaura to Sylhet will begin soon. The project has got nod from the highest authority after long process of G2G with China. After the completion of the construction, people of greater Sylhet will be able to travel to Dhaka only in four hours as the speed of the trains running on the newly constructed rail line will be 125kmph. Presently, the travel time is around seven hours. The railway stations on the route will also be modernized. The mega project will be implemented by June 2025.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge
In a bid to improve the communication between the eastern and western parts of the country, the railways ministry is constructing 4.8-km Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Railway Bridge over the river Jamuna parallel to the existing Bangabandhu Bridge. The rail bridge will improve the capacity and safety of railway transportation in the country.
The mega project will be implemented from July 2018 to June 2025.
Moreover, the government has launched a train service on Dhaka-Gopalganj rail route and is set to construct the Dhaka-Barishal rail line. It is also going to launch the operation of Benapole-Dhaka direct train service on July 25, which would facilitate a large number of passengers, especially those travelling to India for treatment and other purposes, make faster and hassle-free journey.
All closed railway lines will be reintroduced across the country. Besides, as part of the master plan, the government will purchase two hundred modern coaches this year and five hundred fifty modern coaches next year for Bangladesh Railway (BR).
The government would construct new broad gauge railway line on Jashore-Magura-Sripur-Langalbandha-Pangsha, new broad gauge line on Payra-Kuakata, new broad gauge line on Dohazari-Bandarban, new broad gauge line on Hathazari-Rangamati, new broad gauge line on Nazirhat-Khagrachhari, new broad gauge line on Darshana to Damurhuda and Meherpur via Mujibnagar and new broad gauge line on Joydebpur-Dhamrai-Manikganj-Paturia, Sujan said.
The government would also introduce circle line in Dhaka city, railway line from Dhaka to Paturia via Manikganj, broad gauge line from Gobra to Pirojpur and connect Bagerhat, bypass line at Bhairabbazar, connectivity with Jamalpur economic zone, railway line on Jalanihat station-CHUET-Kaptai in Chattogram, railway line on Bhanga-Barishal-Payra and railway connectivity with Sunamganj district under the future plan.