Indo-Bangla passenger train: services to resume on May 29

Passenger train services between Bangladesh and India will resume on May 29 after a long hiatus of more than two years due to the Covid pandemic.

Additionally, Mitali Express, the third passenger train operated between the two countries, will start running on June 1.

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The decision on the dates was finalized at an inter-ministerial meeting at Rail Bhaban yesterday, Sardar Shahadat Ali, Bangladesh Railway’s additional general manager (operations), told the Daily Star.

He said they would release advertisements about the resumption and also the launch of the new train service by tomorrow and start selling tickets the same day.

Mitali Express will operate between Dhaka and New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal four days a week.

Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, who is expected to visit India at the end of the month, and India’s Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will jointly launch the new train virtually from Rail Bhavan in New Delhi, said indicated railway sources.

Earlier, the railways of the two countries agreed on the dates.

Prior to the suspension of services in March 2020, Maitree Express operated on the Dhaka-Kolkata route five days a week while Bandhan Express operated on the Khulna-Kolkata route twice a week.

Mitali Express, inaugurated by the prime ministers of Bangladesh and India on March 26 last year, will use the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link.

In March this year a decision was made to resume passenger train services but this could not be possible due to some visa and Covid protocol issues.

BR and the Indian High Commission in Dhaka recently wrote to the Indian Ministry of Railways to resume cross-border passenger train services. And later the dates were set, according to BR sources.

Maitree Express operation will resume with BR (train) rake and Bandhan Express from Kolkata with Indian Railway rake, they said.

Mitali Express, the fully air-conditioned direct train with 10 coaches, will operate twice from Dhaka and twice from NJP each week, officials said.

The train will leave Dhaka at 9:50 p.m. on Monday and Thursday and reach the NJP at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday and Friday.

On the other hand, it will depart from NJP at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday and Wednesday and arrive in Dhaka at 10:30 p.m. the same day, they said.

Customs formalities will be completed at Dhaka Cantonment Station and NJP Station.

Jose P. Rogers