The first freight train, originating from Bangladesh’s Gangasagar, arrived at Tripura’s Nishchintapur border station on Monday, marking a significant milestone in the long-awaited Indo-Bangla railway project that had been plagued by unprecedented delays.
While the movement of passengers through the broad-gauge railway link may still need to wait for a couple of months for pending technical interventions, officials from the North East Frontier Railways assured that the railway route between Gangasagar and Nishchintapur, spanning 8.1 kilometers, is fully operational for the transportation of goods. Successful trials were conducted on the meter-gauge tracks, ensuring a smooth transition.
Addressing the matter, Anindra Chowdhury, Executive Engineer and project in-charge, stated, “The total length of the Agartala-Akhaura railway project is 12.24 kilometers. The larger share of the length which is 6.78 kilometers falls in the Bangladesh side while rest of the 5.46 kilometers is on the Indian side”.
The section where the trial runs took place, covering the distance between Gangasagar in Bangladesh and Nishchintapur in Tripura, India, spans 8.1 kilometers. The meter-gauge line successfully passed this trial, allowing the train from Gangasagar to reach Tripura without any hindrance. The path will soon be open for the transportation of goods, though passenger services may require additional time.
Officials emphasized, “The broad-gauge line will be opened after the remaining construction work is completed up to Agartala railway station.” The train that reached Agartala on Monday carried a team of six members, including two locomotive pilots, railway engineers, and traffic inspectors from Bangladesh Railway.
The entire railway project is expected to cost more than Rs 900 crore, according to the officials.
Meanwhile, Abdur Rahman, a Bangladesh railway official, expressed optimism about the new railway connectivity, stating, “This is the first of its kind international railway link between Eastern portions of Bangladesh with the North Eastern region of India. I am very happy to be present here as a representative of my government for this trial runs. Although it is just a 20 minutes journey but it has a longer after effect. Both the regions will be benefitted for this initiative and sectors like railway, health and trade are expected flourish”, he added.