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Bangladesh Railway Assessment

Bangladesh Railway Map

Overview

Bangladesh Railway (BR), the state-run transportation agency of the country, who is responsible for operating and maintenance of 2877.10 Km railway line. For smooth operations the Railway network is divided into 2 regions, Eastern and  Western. Bangladesh Railway (BR) operates and maintains the entire railway network of the country. BR is headed by the Directorate General of Bangladesh Railway under the Ministry of Railways along with Bangladesh Railway Authority (BRA) which works for policy guidance of BR. To upgrade the services of BR, Railway ministry has newly been established as an independent ministry in 2011 separating it from previous Ministry of Communications.

Railway connected almost all important places of 44 civil districts and plays important role in the economy. It operates Total 348 Passenger trains and 6 Container trains & 20-25 goods trains daily. Besides, it operates the largest Inland Container Depot with capacity of 90,000 TEUs. BR network was initially North-South connection based because of riverine land script. Establishment of new East-West connections and missing links and revival of old and abandon tracks are the key areas of interventions.

Rehabilitation of existing railway lines, modernization of signaling system and acquisition of new rolling stocks to improve the performance and to cop up with the upcoming new situation linking the network with the Trans Asian Railway are the important challenges in front of BR. Apart from these, reducing operational bottlenecks by double tracking all major railway corridors and harmonization of railway tracks by phases, institutional reform, pragmatic role in easing traffic congestion by improving commuter train service in Dhaka and Chattogram cities, proper use of land and other assets, introducing more Public Private Partnership (PPP) in railway sub-sector are important challenges in front of BR.

Key features of BR are the coexistence of several gauges, Broad gauge, Meter gauge and Dual gauge, and the separation of the system by the Jamuna River (Brahmaputra) into a Western and Eastern Zone of operations with only one bridge, the 2003 Jamuna Bridge, connecting the two zones.

Bangladesh Railway operates international, inter-city and suburban rail systems on its multi-gauge network. It also owns coach production facilities. BR is divided into two zones, East & West, each under control of a general manager who is accountable to the Director General of Bangladesh Railway. The two zones have their separate departments for operations, maintenance, and finances. Each zone is divided into two divisions that contain departments of HR, Transportation, Commercial, Finance Mechanical, Way and Works Signaling & Telecommunication, Electrical, Medical, etc. Each zone also has its Workshop Divisions, located at Pahartali and Saidpur, respectively. A locomotive workshop is located at Parbatipur for Broad and Meter gauge locomotives.

BR manages its own Railway Training Academy. A separate Directorate under the Ministry of Railways is charged to inspect and ensure different works of BR in relation to safety and Security. For further details please follow https://railway.portal.gov.bd/.


Bangladesh Railway at a Glance

Total Length Railway Line (km)

2,877.10

Total stations

460

Broad Gauge (km)

659.33 

Total locomotives

286

Meter Gauge (km)

1,808.05

Total  coaches

1507

Dual Gauge (km)

409.72

Total wagons

10,226

Railway Bridges

3650

Mail, Express, Commuter &  Demu

132

Track Kilometres

4,093.15

Intercity trains

86

Number of passenger trains daily

341

Maitree Express (Dhaka-Kolkata) and Bondhon Express (Khulna-Kolkata)

05

Number of freight trains daily

37

Local mixed

126

Yearly operating revenue (million BDT)

11,000

Approved Manpower

40,264

Yearly Passengers carried (millions)

70

Yearly Passenger-Kilometres (million)

9,000


BR Network by Corridor

Bangladesh Railway has documented a Master Plan which is aimed to implement by 2045 and this is prepared in conformity to the 7th 5-year plan, vision 2021 1nd 2014. In that plan the Railway network has been organized by key corridors which are listed below:

Corridor 1

Dhaka - Chattogram - Cox's Bazar - Deep sea port

Corridor 2

Chilahati - Ishurdi- Khulna – Mongla

Corridor 3

Dhaka - Bangabandhu Bridge - Darsana/Benapole

Corridor 4A

Dhaka - Bangabandhu Bridge - Rajshahi – Rohanpur

4B

Dhaka - Bangabandhu Bridge - Ishurdi - Parbatipur-Chilahati/Birol 

Corridor 5

Dhaka - Sylhet/Shahbazpur

Corridor 6

Dhaka - Bangabandhu Bridge- Sirajganj / Roypur (Jamtoil) - Burimari

Corridor 7A

Dhaka - Mawa - Bhanga - Jashore - Khulna – Mongla

7B

Dhaka - Mawa - Bhanga - Jashore – Benapole

7C

Dhaka - Mawa - Bhanga – Barishal

7D

Dhaka - Mawa - Bhanga - Kashiani - Gopalganj - Tungipara 

Corridor 8A

Dhaka - Mymensingh - Jamalpur - Tarakandi- Bangabandhu Bridge

8B

Dhaka - Bhairab Bazar – Mymensingh

Corridor 9A

Dhaka - Mawa -Jajira-Rajbari-Moukuri (Mizanpur) - Bara Durgapur (Khas Char) - Pabna – Ishurai

9B

Dhaka - Paturia - Douladia - Moukuri (Mizanpur) - Bara Durgapur (Khas Char) - Pabna – Ishurdi.


Services of BR

Bangladesh Railway provides various types of services ranging from shuttle for university students to freight and cargo service. Following are the important services of BR: 

Passenger Service

Bangladesh Railway is the principal mode of transportation in the country. With the development of road transport facilities there has been a shift in the trend of passenger traffic with short distance passengers preferring road transport, because of their frequent and point to point services. During 2014-2015, about 67 million passengers were transported by Bangladesh Railway against about 65 million during 2013-2014. In order to render better services to the passengers, BR introduced inter-city train services in 1985. At present there are 88 inter-city trains running. Around 40.9% of the total passengers of BR are being carried by the inter-city trains which contribute approximately 83.6 % of the total earning of passenger traffic. To attract the passengers and improve the overall standard of services, BR has introduced different online services along with other developments. At present following services are available on line:

Maitree and Bondhon Express

The Maitree and Bondhon Express are international trains. Maitree Express has been in operation since 2008 linking Dhaka and Kolkata, India while Bondhon Express has linked linking Khulna and Kolkata since 2018.

Freight and Cargo services

The railway has been facing tough competition with other modes of transport for the high rated traffic, which pay more revenue. On the other hand, the railway is called upon to carry traditional low rated essentials. As a national carrier, BR has an obligation to carry essential commodities like food grains, fertilizer, jute, cement, coal, iron and steel, stone & boulders, petroleum products, salt, sugar etc. to the remote corners of the country at a cheaper rate. BR has experienced negative growth in freight traffic in last few decades due to poor services and facilities and dramatic developments in road and river transportation routes. At present the BR has following different types of wagons for carrying freight:

Bogie Cover Wagon (each 34 MT capacity)

250/500

BFCT

450/900

BKh/Hooper

100/200

BKC

120/240

  • Each train can carry 31/62 Containers.
  • Each train carries 30/60 Racks with a total capacity of 1050 MT.

Bangladesh Railway transports containers from Chattogram to Dhaka. Special type flat wagons required for container movement were initially arranged by converting some existing wagons. Subsequently 80 bogie container flats were procured from China and another 100 bogie container flats were procured from India. An Inland Container Depot has been opened at Dhaka with custom and port facilities for clearance of container traffic. Exclusive container trains were introduced on 5 August 1991. Since then, volume of container traffic gained a momentum but BR is yet to catch up with road and water transportation facilities.

At present there is only one Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Kamlapur, Dhaka which is connected by Rail, which is insufficient to carry future loads. At present approximately 75-80 thousand containers are being handled by BR between CPA and ICD Kamlapur. Another ICD is under process of establishment at Dhirasram, north of Tongi and just south of Joydevpur. It will be 264 km only from Chattogram, whereas distance of Kamlapur is 321 km from Chattogram. It is expected that Dhirasram ICD will be able handle 500,000 TEU yearly. Pangaon river port / ICD is running with minimum capacity being underutilized as it is used by few inland ships only who carry containers from Chattogram to Pangaon, but once Padma Bridge is operational, this ICD will be connected by rail and it will be a hub between Dhaka and South Bengal and India through Benapole Land Port.

Container holding capacity

4067 TEUs

Yard area

1 36 954 Sq. m

Container Freight Stations (CFS)

8000 Sq. m

Weighbridge

2 in Two gates

Equipment

Reach Stackers-2 (45 MT), Forklifts-4 (42 MT), Reach Stacker-1 (7 MT), Low Mast Forklift-6 (3 MT), Tractor Trailors-8.

Wagons for container transportation

550

Railway terminal (Length of two tracks)

1097 m

Fire brigade

1 Unit


List of Officers

NameDesignationPhone No.Email

Md. Shamsuzzaman

Director General

9561200

dg@railway.gov.bd

Nasir Uddin Ahmed

General Manager (East)

843200

gme@railway.gov.bd

Khandker Shahidul Islam

General Manager (West)

761576

gmw@railway.gov.bd

Md. Anowarul Hoque

Addl. Director General (Infra)

9562051

adgi@railway.gov.bd

Syed Faruk Ahmed

Addl. Director General (RS)

9563450

adgrs@railway.gov.bd

Md. Miah Jahan

Addl. Director General (OP)

9562030

adgop@railway.gov.bd

Chandan Kanti Das

Addl. Director General (M & CP)

9563539

adgmncp@railway.gov.bd

Md. Johurul Islam

Addl. Director General (Finance)

9562047

adgf@railway.gov.bd

Dr. Luthfunnahar Begum

Chief Medical Officer (East)

843165

cmoe@railway.gov.bd

S.A.M. Imtiaz Babul

Chief Medical Officer (West)

776379

cmow@railway.gov.bd

Md. Mizanur Rahman

Chief Mechanical Engineer (East)

843154

cmee@railway.gov.bd

Mrinal Kanti Banik

Chief Mechanical Engineer (West)

761948

cmew@railway.gov.bd

S. M. Murad Hossain

Chief Commercial Manager (East)

2863191

ccme@railway.gov.bd

Farid Ahmed

Controller of Stores

843135

cose@railway.gov.bd

F.M. Mahiuddin

Divisional Superintendent (Workshop)

2566253

dswpht@railway.gov.bd

Md. Burhan Uddin

Divisional Railway Manager, Chattogram

843182

drmctg@railway.gov.bd

A Am Salah Uddin

Divisional Railway Manager, Dhaka

9330522

drmda@railway.gov.bd

A.M.M. Shahnewaj

Chief Commercial Manager (West)

761091

ccmw@railway.gov.bd

Md. Shahidul Islam

Chief Personnel Officer (West)

760594

cpow@railway.gov.bd

Md. Ahsan Ullah Bhyuain

Divisional Railway Manager, Paksey

63496

drmpxc@railway.gov.bd

Md Shofiqur Rahman

Divisional Railway Manager, Lalmonirhat

61353

drmlmh@railway.gov.bd

Md. Joidul Islam

Divisional Superintendent, Saidpur

2136

dswsdp@railway.gov.bd


Station Managers

Station

Phone No.

Station

Phone No

Station Manager - Dhaka

01711691612

Divisional Railway Manager - Dhaka

01711506137

Station Manager - Chattogram

01711691550

Divisional Railway Manager - Chattogram

01711506138

Station Manager - Sylhet

01711691656

Divisional Railway Manager - Paksey

01711506130

Station Superintendent - Rajshahi

01711622728

Divisional Railway Manager - Lalmonirhat

01711506136

Area Operating Manager - ICD / Dhaka

01711691628




Contact Information of Important Railway Stations

Station Name

Phone

Station Name

Phone

Station Name

Phone

Dhaka

02 – 9358634

02 - 8315857

Potia

03035 – 56528

Joypurhat

0571 – 62304

Tejgaon

02 - 9112007

Hathazari

03023 - 2601061

Bogura

051 – 65042

Dhaka Cantonment

02 - 9860761

Shayestaganj

0831 – 56646

Bonarpara

05750 – 64018

Dhaka Airport

02 - 8924239

Sreemangal

08626 – 71350

Gaibandha

05750 – 61338

Tongi

02 - 9801058

Kulaura

08624 – 56004

Rangpur

0521 – 63006

Ghorashal

06254 - 74206

Sylhet

0821 - 716061,

0821 – 713990

Kurigram

0 581 – 61366

Jinardi

30250 - 62046

Habiganj

0831 – 52260

Thakurgaon

0561 – 52097

Bhairab Bazar

9424 - 71477

Kishoreganj

0941 – 55245

Nilphamari

0551 – 61229

Brahmanbaria

0851 - 52006

Mymensingh

091 – 55700

 091 -  55667

Saidpur

05526 – 2104

Ashugonj

08528 - 74221

Jamalpur

0981 – 63040

Kushtia

071 – 53058

Narsingdi

0628 - 62046

Rajshahi

0721 - 774043 0721 – 776040

Kushtia Court

071 – 53065

Akhaura

08522 - 56012

Chapai Nawabganj

0781 – 55205

Rajbari

0641 – 65223

Cumilla

081 - 76358, 081 - 76353

Rohanpur

07823 – 74013

Jashore

0421 – 65019

Chandpur

0841 - 63255

Rajshahi court

0721 – 774122

Benapole

04228 – 75501

Feni

0331 - 74875

Natore

0771 – 66923

Khulna

041 – 760691

Chattogram

031 - 635162, 031 - 616366






Main stations / gauge

Eastern Zone

Western Zone

Khulna

Broad gauge

Birampur

Dhaka Komlapur

Dual gauge

Daulotpur


Phulbari

Dhaka Airport


Phultala


Parbotipur Jn

Dhaka Cantonment


Noapara


Dinajpur

Tongi Junction

Dual Gauge

Jashore Jn

Broad guage

Panchogorh

Joydevpur Junction

Dual gauge

Kotchandpur


Syedpur

Tangail

Dual gauge

Darshana

Broad gauge

Nilphamari

Bongobondhu Setu East

Dual gauge

Alamdanga


Domar

Mymenshingh


Cuadanaga


Chilahati

Jamalpur Junction


Poradoho Jn

Broad gauge

Rangpur

Jogonnatgonj Ghat


Mirpur


Kaunia Jn

Dewangonj


Bheramara


Lalmonirhat

Bahadurabad


Pakshi


Peergacha

Kishorgonj


Ishawrdi jn

Broad gauge

Bamondanga

Mohongonj


Ishawardi Bypass

Dual gauge

Gaibandha

Chattogram

Meter gauge

Abdulpur Junction

Dual Gauge

Bonarpara

Sylhet


Rajshahi


Bogura

Akhaura Junction

Meter auge

Amnura Junction


Chatmohor

B.Baria Junction


Capainababgoinj


Ullapara

Cumilla


Natore


Jamtoil

Luksam Junction


Madhnagar


Sirajgonj Bazar

Nagolkot


Ahsangonj


Sd Monsur Ali

Hassanpur


Shantahar

Dual Gauge

Bongobondhu Setu West

Feni


Akkelpur



Sitakundo


Joypurhat



Pahartali


Pacbibi



Bottali


Hili



Norosingdi


 

Development Progress of BR

Since 2009, Bangladesh Railway has newly constructed 330.15 km of rail lines, 91 station buildings, 295 bridges and converted 248.50 km railway tracks into dual gauge tracks. Furthermore, 1,335.23 km railway track, 644 bridges, 177 station buildings, 430 passenger coaches, 277 wagons have been rehabilitated. To address the shortage of rolling stocks, 20 MG locomotives, 26 BG locomotives, 270 passenger coaches and 20 sets DEMU, 165 BG and 81 MG tank wagons, 270 Flat wagons and 30 Brake vans have been procured.

BR has started to construct double line in the important corridor of Dhaka-Chattogram which is 321 km, of which 118 km is double line.

The government has taken various projects for construction of the broad-gauge double line and for conversion of the meter gauge rail line to dual gauge line under the 1st, 2nd and 3rd LoC (Indian Line of Credit). Besides, two projects for construction of dual gauge rail line parallel to the exting dual gauge line of Ishurdi-Joydebpur section and dual gauge line parallel to existing meter gauge line of Joydevpur-Mymensing-Jamalpur Section have been finalised with the financing of Chinese government.

Furthermore, as a part of long-term planning, BR has prepared a Railway Master Plan with the grant assistance of ADB. The updated Railway Master Plan has been approved by government in January 2018. A total of 230 projects at the cost of BDT.5,53,662 crore have been included in the newly approved Railway Master Plan to be implemented in six phases over the period spanning from July 2016 to June 2045. Some of the High Prioritised Projects of BR are shown below:

Sl

Project Name

Project Cost (BDT)

Phase Period

       1.      

Bangabandhu Railway Bridge Construction

9740

2018-2020

       2.      

Construction of Rail Line from Bhanga Junction (Faridpur) to Payra Port Via Barisal

28335

2018-2020

       3.      

Construction of Akhaura-Agartala Dual gauge railway link

478

2018-2020

       4.      

Conversion of existing MG track to DG track between Akhaura-Sylhet

8619

2018-2020

       5.      

Construction of DG Rail Link from Bogura to Shaheed Monsur Ali Station

6607

2018-2020

       6.      

Construction of double line between Joydebpur and Ishurdi section of BR

7698

2018-2020

      7.     

Construction of a Dual Gauge Rail Line Parallel to the Existing Meter Gauge in Joydebpur- Maymensingh-Jamalpur Section.

7698

0218-2020

       8.      

Modernization of Parbatipur Central Locomotive Workshop

770

2018-2020

       9.      

Construction of new locomotive workshop at Narayanganj

770

2018-2020

10.

Construction of Repair & Maintenance Workshop for DEMU at Narayanganj

963

2018-2020

11.

Reconstruction of Diesel Loco sheds (09 total) including Equipment upgrade and DG Conversion

3500

2018-2020

12. 

Construction of a new Inland Container Depot (ICD) near Dhirasram railway station

1640

2018-2020

13.

Rehabilitation of Jashore-Benapole rail line

1502

2018-2020

 14.   

Procurement of 40 Broad Gauge Locomotives

2070

2018-2020

15.

Procurement of 400 MG & 300 nos BG covered vans (BC) and 180 MG & 120 BG Bogie Open Wagons (BKC) for BR

1140

2018-2020

    16.      

Construction of overpass/flyover in Narayanganj - Joydebpur section of Bangladesh Railway

591

2021-2025

    17.      

Construction of Dhaka- Chattogram High Speed Railway

30995

2021-2025

    18.      

Conversion of existing Metre Gauge double line to Dual Gauge double line between Tongi – Bhairab.

6233

2021-2025

    19.      

Construction of Chattogram CGPY Inter-Modal Terminal

1200

2021-2025

    20.      

Conversion of Metre Gauge double line into Dual Gauge double line between Bhairab Bazar and Akhaura including rebuilding of existing Bhairab and Titas Bridge

3214

2021-2025


Ongoing Projects of BR

After inclusion of railway tracks over the Bangabandhu Bridge, a railway link between East and West Zone has been established. The Government, underscoring the need for railway communication, attaches topmost priority to railway amongst all the surface mode of transports in Vision-2021. A good number of new projects have been approved for the improvement of railway. The projects have already been taken in hand for expansion, upgradation, renovation, conversion and modernisation of railway network. Moreover, rail line rehabilitation, construction of a new ICD at Dhirasram, modernization of Saidpur workshop, modernization of stations, procurement of relief cranes, establishment of load monitoring device in Bangabandhu bridge and on different important places have been undertaken against approved projects. To meet the expectation of the stakeholders necessary steps have been taken for doubling Dhaka- Chattogram railway corridor and introduction of rail communication over the Padma Bridge. Bangladesh signed the “Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) Network”. Steps have been taken to establish Trans-Asian Railway Network and Regional/sub-regional connectivity in Bangladesh. Moreover, to meet the traffic demand New Express connections have been introduced.

The Government is committed to transform BR into a feasible and market oriented organization with managerial, financial and administrative autonomy to meet its objectives. To prepare this ground, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported a Technical Assistance Project which consisted of three phases. Few of the ongoing projects are shown below:

  • Construction of the single line on the Dual gauge track from Duhazari to Cox's Bazar via Ramu and Ramu to Gundum of Myanmar (to be completed by 2022).
  • Construction of railway line from Khulna to Mongla Port (To be completed by 2020).
  • Renovation Work of Bangladesh Railway Kulaura-Shahbazpur sections (To be completed by 2030).
  • Collection of 70-meter gauge diesel electric locomotive for Bangladesh Railway (by 2024).
  • Construction of dual gauge double Line (1st Amendment) in the 3rd and 4th dual gauge line of Dhaka-Tongi section of Bangladesh Railway and Tongi-Jaydebpur sections. (To be completed by 2019).
  • Construction of the double railway line from Akhaura to Laksam and the conversion of existing rail lines into Dual Gauge (To be completed by 2020).
  • Construction of a Dual Gauge rail line parallel to the existing Meter gauge rail lines in Dhaka-Narayanganj section (To be completed by 2020).
  • Rehabilitation and quality improvement of the level crossing gates of the eastern part of Bangladesh Railway (1st Amendment). (To be completed by 2020).
  • Rehabilitation and quality improvement of the level crossing gates of the western region of Bangladesh Railways. (To be completed by 2020).
  • Collection of Meter gauge and Broad-gauge passenger carriage for Bangladesh Railway (To be completed by 2030).
  • Collection of locomotives, relief cranes and locomotive simulators for Bangladesh Railway (To be completed by 2020).
  • Establishment of Padma Bridge Rail Link (1st Amendment) (To be completed by 2024).
  • 200 Meter gauge passenger carriage collection for Bangladesh Railway (To be completed by 2020).
  • Construction of Akhaura-Agartala dual gauge Rail Link (Bangladesh part) (To be completed by 2020).
  • Renovation of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib railway Bridge (To be completed by 2020).
  • Collection of 20 Meter gauge locomotive and 150 Meter gauge passenger carriage for Bangladesh Railway (To be completed by 2021).
  • Feasibility review Programme for construction of Circular railway around Dhaka city (To be completed by 2019).
  • Conversion of Meter gauge into Dual Gauge line from Parbatipur to Kownia (To be completed by 2022).
  • Feasibility review of important Western projects (To be completed by 2030).
  • Construction of the Broad-gauge Railway from Madhukhali to Magura city via Kamerkhali (To be completed by 2022).
  • Development of rolling stock operations of Bangladesh Railways (rolling stock collection) (To be completed by 2021).
  • Construction of double line railway at Khulna junction of Bangladesh Railway (To be completed by 2022).
  • Rail line renovation and construction including signalling for Rooppur nuclear power plant.
  • Construction of Broad-gauge railway between Chilahati and Chilahati border with India is aimed at establishing rail connectivity. (To be completed by 2021).
  • Construction of new Dual gauge railway station at Bogura to memoir Shaheed M Mansur Ali (To be completed by 2023).
  • Construction of double line from Joydebpur to Ishhurdi (To be completed by 2024).
  • Feasibility review and detailed design for the railway connection at Sunamganj District headquarter (To be completed by 2020).
  • Conversion of the Meter gauge railway line of the Akhaura-Sylhet segment into dual gauge (To be completed by 2025).
  • Construction of High-speed train line between Dhaka and Chattogram.

 Development as per Master Plan

Phase

No of Projects

Project Value

(In USD millions)

Remarks

Completed Projects

2010-2015 (Existing MP)

25

513.97


Ongoing Projects

2016-2020 (Existing MP)

36

1644.23

Investment Project-29 Ta Projects-07 (24.81)

Phase-I: 2016-2020

76

18696.12

20 Nos Gauge Conversion Projects

39 Nos Rs Related Projects

Phase-Ii: 2021-2025

63

14946.62

Phase-Iii: 2026-2030

30

10744.50

Phase-Iv: 2031-2035

22

12068.85

Phase-V: 2036-2040

12

10300.75

Phase-Vi: 2041-2045

4

1365.00

 

Performance and Constraints of BR

Performance of BR

Fiscal Year

Passenger Km (Million)

Freight Ton Km (Million)

Total operating revenue (BDT. in crore)

Total operating expense (BDT. in crore)

2009-10

7305.00

710.00

673.16

1257.20

2010-11

8051.92

692.64

747.70

1491.82

2011-12

8787.23

582.11

726.42

1567.12

2012-13

8253.00

525.00

804.26

1562.38

2013-14

8135.00

677.35

800.17

1601.69

2014-15

8711.36

693.84

935.45

1808.29

2015-16

9167.18

675.09

904.02

2229.22

2016-17

10040.66

1052.67

130.37

2835.52

2017-18*

10040.66

1052.67

130.37

2835.52


Constraints of BR

Major constraints in rail connectivity are the lack of connectivity between the rail networks, including differences of the rail gauges and incompatibilities in rolling stock. A through link is not available between the main part of India and the north-east states through Bangladesh. India has a three gauge system while Bangladesh has broad gauge and meter gauge (MG) with some dual gauge in the west and MG only in the east. India adopts air-braked rolling stock whereas Bangladesh adopts vacuum based with some air-braked. The key issue is overall deteriorated conditions of rail networks, especially in eastern India and Bangladesh.

The rail network has been neglected for a long time without adequate budget to provide for much needed maintenance and/or improvement. As a result, the infrastructure is generally in poor condition with a number of inadequacies, such as short loop lengths, marshalling yard lines and terminals restricting the ability of locomotives to haul full train loads. Mechanical signaling and track structures further restrict freight train speeds. Apart from about 900 km of main line, lines and crossing loops are in bad condition leading to frequent derailments.

The funding constraints are further compounded with Bangladesh Railways (BR) required to operate extensive passenger services at low fares. This results in insufficient revenue to justify investment, despite the high passenger demand. The priority given to passenger trains also causes delays to freight trains and reduces their competitiveness. This is a particular problem where lines are single track.

The funding problems have been recognized by the Government and in the Bangladesh Railway Investment Program 2007–13 the main agreed projects are duplication of the Tongi-Bharaib Bazaar section, rehabilitation of rail lines, remodeling/rehabilitation of railway stations, signaling and procurement of locomotives and carriages/wagons. In addition, both ADB and the World Bank have assistance programs aimed at improving track and wagon maintenance.

BR rolling stock is poorly maintained and most is overdue for repair or beyond its economic life. BR policy is to move towards air-braked stock, but a considerable amount of unbraked rolling stock remains and this can only be hauled at a slow speed, dramatically reducing effective track capacity. The amount of unbraked stock also limits the number of trains that can use the Jamuna Bridge. Theft of brake blocks and other equipment thwarts attempts to upgrade stock and the generally poor condition of the rolling stock restricts possible train speeds.

While some locomotives are fitted to haul both vacuum and air-braked stock, unavailability of suitable locomotives at Darsana and Benapole has been cited as a reason for limiting the types of wagons used on the international route to vacuum-braked stock. The average turnaround time for Indian wagons bringing goods into Bangladesh is five to six days for an average movement of only 70 km. The turnaround time is considered excessive for this relatively short movement and a source of friction with Indian Railways.

A new dual gauge link between Ishurdi Junction and Dhaka Cantonment station provides a broad gauge (BG) link with India from the outskirts of Dhaka, but restrictions imposed by the Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge Authority (JMBA) to prevent the movement of Indian BG wagons over this bridge. Re-rating the bridge, possibly involving bridge strengthening, is being investigated by ADB but the cost of such strengthening is expected to be quite high. Other options including weighbridges to ensure wagons are within allowable limits have so far been rejected by JMBA.

The route between India through to Myanmar and its northeastern states could be shortened if movement through Bangladesh was negotiated satisfactorily. The main route would be from Darsana to Akhaura or Shahbazpur via Ishurdi and Tongi junction. However, there would need to be the transshipment for freight between BG and MG at some point between Ishurdi and Tongi. However, it is recognized that both countries do not consider such a through route as a priority. 

Security Arrangements of BR

To ensure the property of Bangladesh Railway and to ensure safety and security of the passengers and freight different measures have been adopted. They are:

Government Railway Police (GRP)

Prevention and detection of crime committed against passengers traveling by train and their properties and also maintenance of law and order in the Railway premises are the direct responsibilities of the Railway Police working under the control of National Police Headquarters as well as Ministry of Home Affairs. The general duties of the staff and jurisdiction of Railway Police have been enumerated in the Police Regulation of Bengal 1943. Their duties are:

  • Control of passenger traffic inside the station premises more particularly on the platforms, in the booking office, waiting halls at the entrance and exit gates and wherever specially required on emergency by the station officials.
  • The control of vehicular and other traffic in the station compound.
  • The maintenance of law and order at stations and in standing passengers’ trains, prevention of over crowding
  • Watching loaded passenger trains when standing in the station.
  • The arrest of those found committing nuisances or suffering from infectious disease and keeping the station premises clear of idlers and beggars.
  • The examination of all empty carriages on arrival at terminal station for property left behind by passengers and to see that carriage fittings have not been tampered with:
  • The removal of bodies and persons dying in the train and on station premises and the conveyance to hospital of the sick people.
  • Investigation into cognizable offences committed with railway limits and prevention of the same.
  • The arrest offenders in cognizable cases and detention of them in custody as well as persons arrested by Railway Officers and made over to the police, and their production before the Magistrate.
  • The reporting of non-cognizable case or infringement of bye-laws of the line to proper authorities as also all instances of oppression or fraud on the part of Railway sub-ordinates or others.
  • The prosecution of cognizable case as well as non-cognizable cases under Railway act, 1890 on behalf of the management.

Railway Nirapatta Bahini (RNB)

 Railway Nirapatta Bahini is guided by RNB Ordinance-1976 under the railway administration. The responsibility of providing security to the Railway men, Railway properties and the properties entrusted to it for carrying falls under the duties of Railway Nirapatta Bahini (RNB) Railway Nirapatta Bahini is responsible for:

  • Prevention and detection of crime on the Railway.
  • Protection and safeguarding the Railway properties.
  • Removing any obstruction in the movement of Railway, its properties and the properties entrusted to it for carriage.
  • Escorting of cash movement and protecting pay officers of the railway.
  • Providing security to the goods trains and luggage & Parcel vans of passenger trains.
  • Assisting during Block Check and mobile Court.
  • Eviction of unauthorized occupants in the railway premises, under command of Railway Estate officer/Magistrate.

International Corridors Leading to Bangladesh

Overview

Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport and transshipment center for the sub-region. It borders India and Myanmar and is geographically close to Bhutan, Nepal, and Kunming—the key transportation hub in southwest People’s Republic of China (PRC). With the opening of the Payra Sea port and Padma Bridge, the Dhaka–Chattogram, Dhaka-Mongla and Dkaka-Payra transport corridor and other strategic transport corridors will facilitate trade of Bangladesh India, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal including other countries in Asia, thereby attracting more foreign and domestic traffic to the country.

South Asia is the least integrated region and the cost of trading across borders is one of the highest in the world. Co-operation with its neighboring countries offers benefits to Bangladeshi owned road, rail and water transport services and port services. Opening up Chattogram or Mongla Port will earn huge revenue for Bangladesh. Similarly, such benefits could be realized if the Government offer Bhutan, Nepal and the North-East India states, the opportunity to transit through Bangladesh to reach the heartland of India, in exchange for the right of Bangladeshi truck and river vessel operators and Bangladesh Railways to share in this traffic.

Integrating the transport network of South Asia is important to Nepal, Bhutan, and regions such as northeast India as it will end their landlocked or semi-isolated status. Within such a framework, Nepal, Bhutan, and the northeastern region of India would have the benefit of improved access to the ports and important economic centers of the region, and a choice of routes and modes.

Given the large potential for reduction in transportation costs, allowing the landlocked region of North-Eastern India, Bhutan, and Nepal access to Chattogram port through Bangladesh’s eastern border or to Mongla port through its North-Western border has been a key issue among concerned authorities, although no tangible result has been reached yet.

Recent studies proposes 7 corridors for bi-lateral trade between Bangladesh and its neighbors (Northeast India, heartland India, Bhutan and Nepal), as well as for transit allowing each neighbor to shorten circuitous travel today via the ‘chicken neck’ between Northeast India and the rest of India. Such transit can go by road, rail or water. Water and rail transport have a cost advantage for bulks (i.e. most exports), whereas high-value goods (mainly imports) are likely to prefer road. The study lists physical and nonphysical barriers to the development of each corridor and recommends actions and investments that will be needed in the short and medium terms to overcome these barriers.

Cross-border exchanges of railway freight wagons also require agreement on how to keep track of the wagons while they are in ‘foreign’ territory and the relevant charges to be levied. BR wagons do not meet Indian Railways’ standards (notably their brake systems), but IR wagons can operate in Bangladesh; BR would at least earn track use charges from such traffic. The mix of track gauges also complicates things.

Indian freight trains travel only up to the border stations inside Bangladesh and Bangladesh Railway (BR) locomotives then pull the Indian wagons up to a short distance inside the country where transshipment takes place. BR wagons also do not cross the Indian border, as the rolling stock is incompatible with the air-braked stock of Indian Railways. Present load restriction over Jamuna Bridge in Bangladesh prohibits the movement of broad gauge fully loaded wagons across the bridge, although a dual gauge railway network now exists up to Dhaka. Recent investigation, however, revealed that ISO containers on low platform BLCA/BLCB flat cars having a floor height of 1009 mm can be allowed over Jamuna Bridge, without any load restrictions.

Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) through Bangladesh

The dream of connecting Bangladesh to the much- discussed trans-Asian railway network is finally on the way to reality. Bangladesh gov is in the process of infrastructural development for implementation of the railway network to get connected with the Trans Asian Railway. Once the railway network is implemented, Bangladesh will be connected to Myanmar, India, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia and South Korean railway network.  The railway network connecting Bangladesh with the International World is the commercial-Economic Corridor. In particular, Bangladesh is one of the most important trade-economic Partners of China and the possibility of rail communication with Singapore is a landmark in Bangladesh's foreign trade. In accordance with the government 's accepted roadmap, the project has been scheduled to be completed by 2022.  In this connection a new railway network of about 101 kilometres from Dohajari to Cox's Bazar via Ramu and Ramu to Ghundhum of Myanmar is taken for the implementation with priority. At present the Chattogram-Cox's Bazar-Ghundum rail line is now going on and it will be connected with the Trans-Asian Railway Network.

Initially the rail line will connect with neighbouring Myanmar via Ghundum and it will eventually be expanded up to China, Malaysia and Thailand as part of the Trans-Asian Railway Network. The govt has also decided that another project will be undertaken to install rail line connecting Agartala in Tripura, an Indian state, with Bangladesh via Akhaura. Besides, all the disrupted railway routes with India will be revived. Five TAR links have been nominated for Bangladesh.

Focusing on a few strategic routes (see detailed map under) 

The SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study (SRMTS) recommended a number of routes to strengthen connectivity among the countries and territories of North-Eastern sub-region of South Asia. Out of these, the following Rail routes could be opened immediately to facilitate movement of goods and passengers:

SAARC Railway Corridors

Following SAARC railway corridors passes through Bangladesh (as per SAARC Regional Railways Agreement):

  • Pakistan-India-Bangladesh-India

Lahore (Pakistan)-Wagah (Pakistan)-Atari (India)-Delhi Kolkata (I)-Gede/Petrapol (I)-Darshana/Benapol (Bangladesh)-Dhaka (Bangladesh)-Shahbazpur (Bangladesh)-Maishashan (India)–Imphal (India).

Lahore (Pakistan) - Wagha (Pakistan) - Atari (India)-Delhi (India)- Kolkata(India)-Gede/Petrapol (India) - Darshana /Benapol (Bangladesh)–Dhaka(Bangladesh)-Akhaura/ Gangasagar (Bangladesh) - Agartala (India)

  • India-Bangladesh

Imphal (India) - Agartala (India) – Akhaura/Gangasagar (Bangladesh) – Chattogram Port (Bangladesh)

  • Nepal-India-Bangladesh

Birgunj (Nepal) – Raxaul (India) - Singhabad (India) - Rohanpur (BD) - Mongla Port/ Chattogram Port (BD)

Biratnagar (Nepal) - Jogbani (India) - Radhikapur (India) - Birol (Bangladesh) -Khulna (BD) - Mongla Port (BD).

Bardibas(Nepal) – Inarwa (Nepal) - Jaynagar (India) - Radhikapur (India) - Birol (Bangladesh) – Khulna (Bangladesh) -Mongla Port (Bangladesh).

  • Bangladesh-Bhutan

Mongla Port/Chattogram Port (Bangladesh) - Chilahati (Bangladesh) - Haldibari (India) – Hasimara (India) - Bhutan.



For information on Bangladesh Railway Network Additional Information, please see the following documents: 

Bangladesh Railway Network Additional Information

Bangladesh Railways additional info

Bangladesh rail map

Note: The information provided in the attached documents, which has been taken from the old DLCA, does not match the structure of the new LCA and is therefore provided separately.

For information on Bangladesh Railway Network contact Information, please see the following link: 

4.9 Bangladesh Railway Company Contact List