Dhaka: Expressing high hopes of launching high-speed electric trains and underground trains in Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said a feasibility study for underground trains is currently in progress.
“Steps have been taken to introduce a high-speed express train on Dhaka-Chittagong route while a feasibility study is underway to introduce underground trains in the country,” she said.
The prime minister said this while inaugurating a new inter-city train “Sonar Bangla Express” on Dhaka-Chittagong route at Kamlapur Railway Station.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has undertaken massive programmes for the development of Bangladesh Railway under Vision 2021 and established a separate ministry to give special attention to it.
She reiterated her firm resolve to bring all the districts of the country, including Barisal, under railway network.
Hasina said yesterday was a special day for the Railways Ministry as a new intercity train — Sonar Bangla Express — has been introduced on Dhaka -Chittagong route, while the existing Silk City Train on Dhaka-Rajshahi route has been upgraded with new coaches.
The prime minister said the introduction of a new train and addition of new coaches will help ensure quick and comfortable journeys of passengers.
She mentioned that the Pakistani occupation forces destroyed a huge number of railway bridges and rail tracks during the Liberation War in 1971. But soon after the independence, the Bangabandhu government restored railway communications repairing those bridges and rail tracks at the earliest.
The post-1975 governments did not make any development of the railway sector, rather they closed many rail routes turning the railway as a losing concern, she added.
The prime minister said her government, after assuming office in 2009, has approved 55 new projects costing over Tk62,890 crore and 45 amended projects with the cost of Tk42,601 crore.
So far, 98 new trains have been introduced while services of 26 trains have been improved, she said.
The prime minister said the government has undertaken various projects, including the establishment of railway links on Padma Bridge, new rail lines on Dohazi-Gundum section, double line on Dhaka-Chittagong route, second Bangabandhu Railway Bridge on the Jamuna River, and rail tracks from Khulna to Mongla.
Hasina directed the Railways Ministry to renovate the monument built in memory of railway officials and employees who laid down their lives during the Liberation War and write the names of the martyrs on it.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Railways Minister Mazibul Hoque, Secretary of the Railways Ministry Firoz Salauddin and Director General of Bangladesh Railway M Amjad Hossain also spoke on the occasion.
Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Dhaka mayors Annisul Haque and Sayeed Khokon, Chief of Bangladesh Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla were also present, among others.
The train services were introduced with the newly procured carriers from Indonesia and India. Bangladesh Railway procured 100 meter-gauge and 170 broad-gauge rail coaches with financial support from the Asian Development Bank and Indian Line of Credit.
Sonar Bangla Express will have only one stoppage at Airport Station in the capital, and will travel from Dhaka to the port city in five hours and 40 minutes. The first nonstop train Subarna Express started operation on Dhaka-Chittagong route in 1998.