Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday opened the Dhaka-Bhanga railway line, a part of which runs over Padma Bridge, in laying another milestone in the country’s infrastructure development.
The opening of the 82-kilometre railway track from Dhaka to Faridpur’s Bhanga upazila under “Padma Bridge Rail Link Construction Project” fulfills the long-cherished dream of the people of the country’s southwestern districts.
Bangabandhu’s youngest daughter Sheikh Rehana was present in the grand ceremony presided over by Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan.
Chief of Army Staff General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen and local MP (Munshiganj-2) Sagufta Yasmin Emily spoke on the occasion, while Railways Secretary Dr Md Humayun Kabir delivered the welcome speech.
After formal unveiling of the newly built railway line over the country’s longest bridge, the prime minister boarded a special inauguration train to travel to Bhanga, where she was greeted by thousands of jubilant people.
The work on the construction of the railway line was launched by the prime minister on October 14 last year.
The railway line is being constructed in three phases (plus a 3km link being built between Dhaka and Gandaria): 37km Gandaria-Mawa section, a 42km Mawa-Bhanga section, and an 87km Bhanga Junction-Jashore section. Some 43.2km of loops, siding and Y-connections bring the total track length to 215.2km.
The entire railway project from Dhaka-Jashore is scheduled to be completed by June, 2024.
There will be 20 stations from Dhaka to Jashore, of which 14 are new and 6 are already there. The previous stations are also being modernised. Once completed, trains will be able to run at a speed of 120 to 130 kilometres.
There will be no railway crossing anywhere on the Dhaka-Jashore railway line as underpasses are being constructed at each level crossing all the way from Dhaka to Jashore.
The distance from Dhaka to Bhanga is about 82 kilometres. The new railway line from Gandaria in Dhaka has been added to the Padma Bridge via Keraniganj.
Trains will be able to run from Kamalapur to Bhanga via Gandaria along the Dhaka-Narayanganj railway line.
Under the project, 100 modern passenger coaches have already been purchased. New trains will be introduced by decorating the rakes with them.
The Padma Bridge rail link project was approved on May 3, 2016. At that time, its construction cost was estimated to be around Tk 34,989 crore. When the project proposal was amended on May 22, 2018, the cost increased to Tk 39,247 crore. The cost may increase further, according to concerned authorities.
The Padma Bridge rail link project is being constructed with Chinese funding, on the basis of G2G (government to government). Chinese contractor China Railway Engineering Group (CREC) is working on the project. China’s Exim Bank is providing a loan of $ 266.79 crore to implement the project.
The rest of the cost is being financed by the government of Bangladesh.