Radhikapur: Rail services between India and Bangladesh through the Radhikapur border in North Dinajpur will resume from the end of this month after 11 years. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) today made a trial run with a diesel locomotive to test the tracks from Radhikapur to the end of the zero point along the international border. According to sources in the NFR, goods train services would be started from the end of this month.
“The railway track connecting Dinajpur, now in Bangladesh, to Calcutta via Radhikapur was built in 1857. It was a metre-gauge track and was converted to broad gauge in 2005 and movement of metre-gauge trains stopped. Yesterday, the conversion of the tracks from Radhikapur till the zero point, a distance of 400m was completed. The Bangladesh railways have also finished their gauge conversion,” said an NFR source.
The source said three years ago the Bangladesh railways had converted the tracks from Dinajpur to Birol station.
The NFR chief engineer Bhagwan Saheb said the railway ministry had started the initiative in June this year.
Of the six rail links that exist between the two countries, three are operational and work on the Shahbazpur-Kulaurha, Birol-Radhikapur, Chilhati-Haldibarhi rail links is in progress currently.
Railways are working to link Northeastern India with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. According to Indian Railways, to provide rail connectivity to the neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, the Construction Organization of Indian Railways has undertaken many survey works for new railway lines to these countries.
“Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has already connected Bangladesh at Singhabad. Works to connect Radhikapur and Haldibari are in progress. The proposed Agartala-Akhaura International rail link project will boost socio-economic development of not only Tripura state but entire Northeast Region and the nation as a whole”, the NFR in a statement added.
The link will be a part of the Trans Asian Railway network and will provide a much shorter connectivity from Tripura to Kolkata.
On completion, this India -Bangladesh rail line project will be Gateway to entire North Eastern region. It will connect Northeast India with Ashuganj and Chittagong Port of Bangladesh. It will also connect Agartala to Kolkata via Dhaka shortly. The existing distance between Agartala and Kolkata on Indian Railway network is 1613 Km which will get reduced by around 900 KM.
NFR added that at present there is no rail line in Bhutan. Feasibility studies have been carried out for extending Rail head (India) to Bhutan at five locations. In Nepal, one Broad gauge connectivity work between Jogbani (India) and Biratnagar(Nepal) (18.60 Km) is in progress.