The West Zone of Bangladesh Railway is getting 40 new locomotive engines aimed at improving the standard of passenger services through infusing dynamism into railway services.
Chief Mechanical Engineer of the zone Kudrat-E-Khuda said the engines will be procured from the US. Sixteen of those have already reached the country in two lots and the remaining 24 will be brought in three phases, BSS reports.
There are air-conditioning facilities for the loco-masters in the modern locomotives besides cameras in both front and back sides which will help them to drive the train comfortably and safely.
“We have already received four engines and trial operation of those in different routes is going-on at Ishwardi junction,” he said, adding that normal operation will start after successful completion of the trial operation as soon as possible.
Only the broad gauge (BG) locomotives operate in the zone and there are 92 engines with a 20-year life span. Of those, 43 have already expired.
Engineer Khuda said the operation cost of the outdated engines is more compared to the good ones. Besides, spare parts of the old engines are not available in the local markets.
To remove the existing problems, the new engines are being purchased at a cost of Tk 1,123 crore under the Bangladesh Railway’s Rolling Stock Operation Project. Each of the engines costs Tk 28.39 crore.
Taking the overall situation into special consideration, the railway authorities signed an agreement with the US-based “Progress Rail Locomotive Incorporation” related to the purchase of 40 new BG engines in January 2019.
The engines are being purchased with the joint financial collaboration of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bangladesh government.
Asim Kumar Talukder, General Manager of the zone, said each of the diesel-electric engines contains 3,250 BHP along with 18.8 tonnes of excel load and they are capable of commercial running speed at 130-kilometer per hour.
He said they are very much hopeful of adding all 32 engines to the WZ railway by June this year.
Asim Talukder said the WZ will enter a new era of ensuring quality passenger services with addition of the new engines.
He said the WZ, covering Rajshahi, Rangpur and Khulna divisions, has been operating 159 trains, including 50 intercity and some inter-country ones, on different routes, including the capital city of Dhaka and Kolkata of India at present.
Forty-six local or shuttle and sixty-three commuters or mail trains are also being operated on various routes which are very popular among the passengers, he added.
He stated that the number of passengers of intercity trains on various routes has increased significantly in the last couple of years.
Considering the benefit of the passengers in general, he said 31 major stations have been brought under the modern computerized seat reservation and ticketing system. Some of those including Rajshahi have launched ticket selling and seat reservation through online systems.