Radical changes await in rail

Radical changes await in rail

Salah Uddin Chowdhurydaily-bangladesh.com

Published: 21:10 28 February 2020  

Graphics of Rail: Daily-Bangladesh

Graphics of Rail: Daily-Bangladesh

Bangladesh Railway has taken a 30-year plan to bring radical changes in this sector. Meanwhile, work has been underway for the past few years since the masterplan has been taken in 2016 and the work will be finished by 2045. The master plan will be implemented under 235 projects in six phases and its cost estimated Tk 5, 53,662 crores.

The projects will be implemented on the basis of PPP (Public-Private Partnership) in addition to the domestic and foreign financial sources. India, China, ADB, JICA and several countries and donor agencies have extended their support to the railway development. They have agreed to pay for the development of the railway in easy terms.

CPCS Transcom Ltd. and E. Jane Consultants Limited are implementing the project with the Technical assistance from Asian Development Bank (ADB).

According to the Bangladesh Railway website, the first master plan for the development of the railway was made in June 2013. The master plan for a 20-year period was from 2010 to 2030. The master plan of 2006-07 was finalized by analyzing the data of 2005. The masterplan was carried out under the supervision of domestic and foreign consultants under the Department of Physical Infrastructure of the Ministry of Planning.

The masterplan included 9 major corridors and 235 projects were undertaken, whereas Bangladesh Railways comprised 90 percent. But the data of 2005 has changed a lot in terms of time. Over the past 10 years, road management has changed drastically for the transportation of passengers and goods. In the context of changing demand, the need to create a new masterplan in view of national and international needs arises.

The new master plan includes 15 major corridors of rail. They are Dhaka-Chattogram-Cox's Bazar-Deep-sea port, Chilhati-Ishwardi-Khulna to Mongla, Dhaka-Bangabandhu Bridge-Darshana and Benapole, Dhaka-Bangabandhu Bridge-Rajshahi-Rohanpur, Dhaka-Bangabandhu Bridge-Ishwardi-Parbotipur-Chilhat-Birole, Dhaka-Sylhet and Shahbazpur, Dhaka-Bangabandhu Bridge-Sirajganj/Raipur (Jamtali) -Burimari, Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga-Jashore-Khulna-Mongla, Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga-Jashore-Benapole, Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga-Barishal, Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga-Kashiani-Gopalganj-Tungipara, Dhaka-Mymensingh-Jamalpur-Tarakandi-Bangabandhu Bridge, Dhaka-Bhairabbazar-Mymensingh, Dhaka-Mawa-Jajira-Rajbari-Mowkuri -Baro Durgapur (Khaschar)-Pabna-Ishwardi, Dhaka-Paturia-Daulatdia- Mowkuri (Mizanpur) -Baro Durgapur (Khaschar)-Pabana-Ishwardi.

A total, 83 projects will be implemented in the first phase (2016-2020) of the new masterplan and its cost estimated at Tk 1, 47, 833 crores.

In the second phase (2021-2025), total projects 67 and its cost estimated Tk 1,19,680 crore. In the 3rd phase (2026-2030) cost estimated Tk 1,94,961 crore for  37 projects and Tk 82, 649 crores cost estimated for 14 projects in the 4th phase (2031-2035) while Tk 12,454 crore cost estimated for 6 projects in the 5th phases (2041-2045).  

In the first phase- Construction of new railway, Conversion of old meter gauge line into dual gauge from Sylhet to Chhatak Bazar Station, Parbatipur to Kaunia Meter Gauge Railway into Dual Gauge, Chillahati to Chilahati border broad gauge line as part of increasing railway connectivity with India. Joydebpur-Mymensingh-Jamalpur railway to be converted to dual gauge, Chattogram railway station to be re-built as part of the heritage site, 200 passenger cargo and 45-meter gauge locomotive buy, etc.

In second phase - construction of express railway for Dhaka-Chattogram high-speed train, purchase of necessary equipment for the management of container terminals, overpass or flyover of existing rail crossways, Construction of overpass or flyover on existing rail crossings from Narayanganj to Dhaka to Joydebpur, Conversion of existing Luxam-Chattogram Railway into Dual Gauge, Reconstruction of existing Bhairab and Teesta rail bridges, Tongi-Bhairabazar Railway into Dual Gauge, Construction of inter-modal terminal in Chattogram, Main railway reforms in the west part of the country.

In third phase- Broad gauge coach and engine procurement, Development of equipment for the management of container terminals, Construction of Dual Gauge Double Line in Abdulpur-Portipur, Akhaura-Sylhet dual gauge double line construction, second terminal-engine construction at Faujdarhat, restoration of old coaches and engines, Construction of new Teesta Bridge and rebuilding Hardinge Bridge, etc. 

In fourth phase- Conversion of meter gauge to dual gauge from Jamalpur to East side of Bangabandhu bridge and Jamalpur to Bahadurabad Ghat, Construction of 2009 km optical fiber telecommunication line, Construction of railway line in Panchagarh-Chilahati-Hatibandha route, Dhaka-Tongi subway construction, Rahanpur-Jaipurhat railway line construction, Modernization of ticketing system at 10 railway stations.

In the fifth phase- Construction of Railway Bridge in Jamuna River with Approach Rail Link to connect Bahaduraghat with Phulchari, Conversion of meter gauge to broad gauge from Lalmonirhat-Burimari and Teesta-Ramna Bazar, Modernization of ticketing system at 15 railway stations etc.

Railway director Shamsuzzaman told Daily Bangladesh work is underway regarding the 30 years masterplan. If these projects implemented then the rail sector will see radical changes and passenger service will also increase.

He added that several plans have also been taken to link the rail to the international corridor under the master plan. As per the announcement of the Prime Minister, the rail line will be made across the country. Double lines will be added in many places. The meter gauge lines will be turned into broad gauge.