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Bangladesh - August 19, 2023

Trains likely to run on Padma Bridge later September

 Trial run on Dhaka-Bhanga railway line early next month

Rafiqul Islam Azad: The train is likely to run on the Padma Bridge later in September this year, connecting the capital city of Dhaka to the Bhanga train station in Faridpur. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the Padma rail link project sometime in the last week of September, according to sources.

Earlier, the authorities are planning to conduct a trial run of the train on the Padma Bridge by September 10.

“Time has been requested from the Prime Minister in the last week of September to inaugurate the railway line from Dhaka to Bhanga. We are thinking that the inauguration will take place at the end of September or the beginning of October, whenever the Prime Minister gives the time,” said Project Director Md. Afzal Hossain.

He mentioned that trains will start running on this route by September 10 for trial purposes. Before this, an inspection will be carried out next week from Dhaka to the broken section, he added.

Meanwhile, the construction of the 82km railway line from Dhaka to Bhanga via the Padma Bridge has already been completed. However, the installation of the ‘pull-out’ at Keraniganj and Gandaria stations is yet to be done.

All the work under the project is expected to be completed by August 25, according to sources.

After the commencement of the Dhaka to Bhanga railway line, Dhaka, Mawa, Padma, Shibchar, and Bhanga railway stations may be opened initially. A pair of trains will be operated in the first week after the inauguration of this railway line. After a month, the number of trains will be increased, and more stations will also be opened, according to sources.

Regarding the commercial operation, the project director stated that all station and signaling work will be completed within three months, following which the number of trains will be increased.

The Padma Bridge Rail Link project is being implemented in three phases. Among these, 40 km from Dhaka to Mawa in the first phase, 42 km from Mawa to Bhanga in Faridpur in the second phase, and 87 km from Bhanga to Jessore in the third phase are under construction, sources said.

Most of the work of laying the railway line from Dhaka to Bhanga has been completed. In the third part of the project, the construction of about 87 km of railway line from Bhanga to Jessore started last June. However, as of August, only 15 km of railway line has been laid in the Bhanga to Jessore section sources added.

Project progress data indicates that the overall progress of the entire project has reached 83 percent. Among these, the progress of the Mawa-Bhanga section has reached 98 percent. The progress of the Dhaka-Mawa section has reached 81 percent, while the progress of the Bhanga-Jessoresection has reached 78 percent.

Under the project, 169 kilometers of mainline, 53.97 kilometers of loop and siding lines, and 3.97 kilometers of three lines from Dhaka to Gandaria will be constructed, with a total of 226.95 kilometers of railway tracks, 23.377 km of viaducts, 1.98 ramps, 60 major bridges, 272 minor bridges (culvert underpasses), and 29 level crossings.

Additionally, the construction of 14 new stations, the development of 6 existing stations, and the construction of other infrastructure are being carried out under the project. These 20 stations will be equipped with telecommunications, including (CBI) signaling systems. A total of 100 broad gauge passenger coaches have been procured, and 2426 acres of land have been acquired.

Meanwhile, the Railways initiated a separate project in June 2016 to lay a 169 km railway line from Dhaka to Jessore via the Padma Bridge and construct stations and other infrastructure. China is financing this project through the G2G method, with China Railway Group Limited (CREC) working as the contractor for the project. The Construction Supervision Consultant (CSC), Bangladesh Army, is working as a consulting firm. The estimated cost of the Padma Bridge rail link project is 39,247 crores. The project is expected to be completed by June 2024.

Sources have indicated a proposal to extend the duration of the project. Currently, the project is scheduled to conclude by June 2024. However, a total extension of one-and-a-half years has been suggested, with one year for the project defect liability period and another six months for the completion of all works.

Accordingly, the period may be extended until December 2025. The project director has stated that the cost of the project will not increase even if the duration is extended.

Earlier on June 25last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the much-awaited 6.15km long Padma Bridge connecting the southern part of the country with the capital city.

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