The first ever train service between India and Bangladesh is expected to begin by next month with the inter-country 'Moitree Express' ready for operations, officials said on Saturday.
The train has already made several trial runs within Bangladesh with a speed of 150 km per hour after it was fitted with modern facilities, Railway officials said adding it was expected to start operation from next month.
Passenger carriages of the train were imported from Indonesia but they were assembled in Saidpur Railway Workshop to run between Dhaka and Kolkata, the officials were quoted as saying by the Daily Star.
The engineers said the cost of each carriage varied from taka 1.80 crore to 3 crore (local currency) according to the facilities available as the service comprises chair coaches of economy class, air-conditioned first class and air-conditioned sleeping class along side a power car, one buffet car and a prayer car.
Bangladesh Railway officials earlier said there would be three categories of fares of $8, $12 and $20. Bangladesh will keep 78 per cent of the revenue while India will get the rest, as the distance between Shialdaha and the Bangladesh border is 120 kilometres while the length of the rail track in Bangladesh territory is 418 km.
A 10-coach train with the capacity of carrying a total of 760 passengers is expected to commute everyday and it would start at 0745 am from Bangladesh towards India and at 0700 am from Shialdaha to Bangladesh while it would take nearly 11 hours to reach the destinations including the time for immigration checking.
The train will run between Dhaka Cantonment rail station and Kolkata of West Bengal via Darshana without any break, officials said.
"We expect the train service between Dhaka and Kolkata to be launched by mid July," communication secretary Mahbubur Rahman told reporters earlier this month.The two governments signed a deed for Bangladesh-India railway link in 2001 during former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League regime but the work stalled during the subsequent rule of ex-premier Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance government.