Bangladesh Railway

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Bangladesh Railway
বাংলাদেশ রেলওয়ে
Type Departmental of the Government of Bangladesh
Industry Railways and Locomotives
Founded 1862
Headquarters Dhaka, Bangladesh
Area served Bangladesh
Key people Md. Mujibul Hoque,
Minister of Railways[1]
Md. Abu Taher,
Director General of Bangladesh Railway[2]
Services Rail transport
Revenue 4,456.24 million.
Profit Decrease 2,494.62 million[3]
Employees 34,168 (2009)[4]
Parent Ministry of Railways
Divisions 2 Railway Zones (East and West)
Website www.railway.gov.bd

Bangladesh Railway (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ রেলওয়ে), (reporting mark BR), is the state-owned rail transport agency of Bangladesh. It operates and maintains the entire railway network of the country. BR is controlled by the Directorate General of Bangladesh Railway under the Ministry of Railways along with Bangladesh Railway Authority (BRA) and which works for policy guidance of BR.

Key features of BR are the coexistence of several gauges, Broad gauge, Metre gauge and dual gauge, and the separation of the system by the Jamuna River (Brahmaputra) into a Western and Eastern Zone of operations with only one bridge, the 2003 Jamuna Bridge, connecting the two zones. Bangladesh Railway covers a length of 2,855 route kilometres and employs 34,168 people.[5] BR operates international, inter-city and suburban rail systems on its multi-gauge network. It also owns coach production facilities.

History[edit]

Rajshahi Railway Station

Railway operation in today's Bangladesh began on 15 November 1862 when 53.11 kilometres of 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) (broad gauge) line were opened for traffic between Dorshona of Chuadanga District and Jogotee of Kushtia District. The next 14.98 kilometres 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) (metre gauge) line was opened for traffic on 4 January 1885. In 1891, the construction of then Bengal Assam Railway was taken up by the British Government assistance but that was later on taken over by the Bengal Assam Railway Company. On 1 July 1895, two sections of metre gauge lines were opened between Chittagong and Comilla, a length of 149.89 kilometres and between Laksam Upazila and Chandpur District, a length of 50.89 kilometres. Railway Companies formed in England took up the construction and operation of these sections in middle and late 19th century.[6]

At time of the partition of India in 1947, Bengal-Assam Railway was split up and the portion of the system, about 2,603.92 kilometres fell within the boundary of then East Pakistan and control remained with the central Government of Pakistan. Later with the effect from 1 February 1961, Eastern Bengal Railway was renamed as Pakistan Eastern Railway. Then in 1962, the control of Pakistan Eastern Railway was transferred from the Central Government to the Government of East Pakistan and placed under the management of a Railway Board with the effect from the financial year 1962–63 by the presidential Order of 9 June 1962.[6]

As of 2005, the total length of railroad is 2,855 kilometres.[7] Of that, 660 km are broad gauge tracks (mostly in the western region), 1,830 km are metre gauge tracks (mostly in the central and eastern regions) and 365 km are dual gauge tracks.[8] The gauge problem is being tackled by adding third rails to the most important broad and metre gauge routes, so that they become dual gauge. A major road-rail bridge at Jamuna opened in 1998 to connect the previously detached east and west rail networks. On March 2008, the broad gauge reached Dhaka, the national capital. Funding is being sought to upgrade the network and transform Bangladesh Railway into a profitable business.[9] BR exceeded its target revenue earnings in the fiscal year 2007–2008.[2]

Organisational structure[edit]

Map of Railway system in Bangladesh; Jamuna Bridge not shown.

After independence, the railway was first supervised by a Railway Board which was abolished in 1982. Thereafter, the BR came under the jurisdiction of the Railway Division of the Ministry of Communications with the Secretary of the Division working as the Director General of BR. In 1995, instead of being the part of the Ministry, BR came under control of a professional Director General supervised by the Bangladesh Railway Authority that is chaired by the Minister of Communications.[10]

BR is divided into two zones, East & West, each under control of a general manager who is accountable to the Director General of Bangladesh Railway. The two zones have their separate departments for operation, maintenance, and finances. Each zone is divided into two divisions that contain departments for Personnel,Transportation, Commercial,Finance Mechanical, Way and Works Signaling & Telecommunication, Electrical, Medical, etc. Each zone also has its Workshop Divisions, located at Pahartali and Saidpur respectively. A locomotive workshop is located at Parbatipur for broad and metre gauge locomotives.[10]

BR manages its own Railway Training Academy. A separate Directorate under the Ministry of Communications is charged to inspect different works of BR in relation to safety.[10]

Services[edit]

Bangladesh Railway, Jamuna Express at Kamalapur Railway Station (dual gauge)

Bangladesh Railway provides various types of services ranging from shuttle service for university students to freight and cargo service. But BR does not make a profit as it is providing services to the nation at subsidised rates to help the country's economy and for the ease of the people.

Passenger service[edit]

Bangladesh Railway is one of the principal modes of transportation in the country. During 2004–2005, about 42 million passengers were transported by Bangladesh Railway.[11] Bangladesh Railway introduced Intercity Train services in 1985. At present there are 54 Intercity Trains running. Around 38.5% of the total passengers of Bangladesh Railway are being carried by the Intercity trains which contribute approximately 73.3% of the total earnings of passenger traffic.[11]

Maitree Express[edit]

The Maitree Express is an international train in operation since 2008 and links Dhaka and Kolkata, India; the travel time is 13 hours.

A Dhaka (Airport)Chittagong InterCity train ticket for 3 adults and a minor

Accommodation classes[edit]

Bangladesh Railway features mainly three classes of Travel: Air Conditioned Class, First Class and Second Class. Third Class was withdrawn as of 1 August 1989. Most of the trains have the First Class and Second Class only. Second Class is divided into Shovon Chair, Shovon, and Shulov sub-classes. In some trains a separate mail compartment is present. In Inter-City and long-distance trains, a restaurant car and a power car are included in the center. All Inter-City trains are partially airconditioned, feature padded leather seats and berths and provide passengers with on-demand sheets, pillows, blankets, as well as meals and refreshments.

Class Description
Tapanukul (তাপানুকূল)
First class AC
This is the most expensive class. This air conditioned coach is used only on popular Inter-City routes. The coaches are carpeted, have sleeping accommodation, ample leg room and have privacy features like personal coupes.
First class (প্রথম শ্রেণী) This class is relatively luxurious, but not air-conditioned; has sleeping berths, and ample leg room.
First class Chair
(প্রথম শ্রেণী চেয়ার)
Chair car or day coach with a total of five seats in a row on broad gauge trains and four seats in a row on metre gauge trains. used for day travel between cities.
2nd Class-Shovon Chair
(২য় শ্রেণী-শোভন চেয়ার)
The 2nd Class Shovon Chair is basically a chair car preferred by most middle-class passengers. Has a total of five seats in a row on broad gauge trains and four seats in a row on metre gauge trains
2nd Class-Shovon
(২য় শ্রেণী-শোভন)
One of the cheapest classes; seats are not very comfortable.
2nd Class-Shulov
(২য় শ্রেণী- সুলভ)
The cheapest accommodation, with seats made of pressed wood or steel and are cushioned. Only found in sub-urban and short-distance routes. Although entry into the compartment is guaranteed, a sitting seat is not guaranteed. These coaches are usually very crowded.

Fares and ticketing[edit]

BR Fares are relatively cheaper than the bus fares. Ticketing services are available at all railway stations across Bangladesh. Most railway stations are computerised and connected to a central network. Printed tickets are provided to the passengers. Tickets can be bought 10 (ten) days before the journey. 100% (excluding clerical charge) refund is available if the ticket is returned 48 hours prior to departure.

Ticket(s) can also be purchased through mobile phones.

Freight and cargo service[edit]

The railway has been facing tough competition with other modes of transport for the high rated traffic, which provide more revenue. As a national carrier, BR is obliged to carry essential commodities like food grains, fertiliser, jute, cement, coal, iron and steel, stone & boulders, petroleum products, salt, sugar etc. to the remote corners of the country at a cheap rates. Freight traffic during 2004–2005 was 3,206 thousand Metric Tons.

Bangladesh Railway transports containers from Chittagong to Dhaka. The special flat wagons required for container movement were initially created by converting some existing wagons. Subsequently 80 bogie container flats were procured from China and another 100 bogie container flats were procured from India. An Inland Container Depot has been opened at Dhaka with customs and port facilities for clearance of container traffic. A dedicated (exclusive) container train was introduced on 5 August 1991. Since then, volume of container traffic has grown considerably.

Railway ferry service[edit]

There were 25 marine vessels under Mechanical Department at the end of 2004–2005. The fleet of the marine vessels consists of 2 Passenger vessels, 4 Tugs, 4 Wagon Ferry Barges, 5 Pontoon ramps, 5 Flats and 5 Berthing flats.

Locomotives[edit]

Diesel[edit]

Alco diesel locomotive near Jessore, Bangladesh

Bangladesh Railway's fleet of diesel locomotives includes both diesel-electric and diesel-hydraulic machines.[12] Fleet at 30 June 2005:

Diesel-electric
  • Broad gauge, 68
  • Metre gauge, 185
  • Total, 253
Diesel-hydraulic
  • Broad gauge, 10
  • Metre gauge, 23
  • Total, 33

Steam[edit]

A small number of steam locomotives are preserved in Bangladesh.[13]

Location Builder Wheel
arrangement
Gauge
Dhaka Railway HQ Nippon 2-8-2 Metre gauge
Saidpur Works W. G. Bagnall 2-4-0T 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)
Saidpur Works Vulcan Foundry 0-6-0 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm)
Paksay Railway HQ Vulcan Foundry? 2-4-0T 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)

The 762 mm gauge locomotives are from the Rupsa-Bagerhat railway which was the only 762 mm gauge line in East Pakistan when colonial India was partitioned in 1947. It was re-gauged to 1,676 mm gauge in 1970.

Workshops[edit]

Bangladesh Railway has sheds, depots and workshops for maintenance. Rolling Stock, Locomotives are maintanied in 3 places viz shed shop & CLW. Carriage & Wagons are maintained in two places i.e. in C&W Depot & workshop.

Locomotives are maintained in following workshops :

  • Central Locomotive Workshop at Parbatipur, Dinajpur.
  • Diesel Workshop at Pahartali, Chittagong.
  • Diesel Workshop, Dhaka.
  • Diesel Workshop at Parbatipur, Dinajpur.

Carriages & wagons are maintained in following workshops

Existing railway stations[edit]

Kamalapur Railway Station, the central railway station in Dhaka. Bangladesh Railway had a total of 454 railway stations at the end of the year 2004–05. These include one block hut, thirteen train halts and four goods booking points.

Sylhet Railway Station

Proposed duplication[edit]

Train ferry[edit]

A train ferry goes from:

Accidents[edit]

  • 11 July 2006 – A train collided with a crowded bus at an unmanned railroad crossing at Akkelpur Upazila, Jaipurhat District, killing at least 33 people, leaving another 30 injured.
  • 13 October 2007 – 4 people died and over 50 were injured when the rear carriages of the Probhati Express derails near Dhaka.
  • 16 April 2008 – According to ATN Bangla television report, a Dinajpur–Dhaka Ekoto Express train collided with a local bus on a level crossing on the outskirts of Kalihati, Tangail District killing 18 and injuring 30.
  • 14 May 2008 – According to ATN Bangla television report, an Upaban Express train rams into the rear of Noakhali Express train at Ashuganj Upazila station, Brahmanbaria District killing 8 and injuring 100.
  • 8 December 2010 – A collision between passenger trains killed at least 10 people.[16]

Timeline[edit]

  • 2006: $430m plan to upgrade railways in Bangladesh[17]
  • 2009: Canarail to advise on duplication Laksam to Chinki Astana of Dhaka to Chittagong line[19]
  • 2010: Funding awarded for a bridge over Titas River.[20] Also, in September 2010, the government of Bangladesh approved 10 rail development projects worth a total of 19·9bn taka; these include plans for new tracks and new rolling stock.[21]
  • 2011: A link across several rivers to Cox's Bazaar has been started, with completion by 2013. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially launched construction the link. The 100 kilometre gauge line will start from the current railhead at Dohazari, southeast of Chittagong, and run to Satkania, Dulahazra, Chakarin, Edgaon, Ramu and Cox's Bazar, with four major river bridges. A 28 kilometre branch will run from Ramu to Gundum.

Railway links with adjacent countries[edit]

  • There are bi-weekly passenger train services to India. The Maitri Express between Dhaka and Kolkata started in April 2008 using the Gede-Darsana route.[23] In addition there is a goods train service from Singhabad and Petrapole in India to Rohanpur and Benapole in Bangladesh, respectively. A new rail link between Akhaura, Bangladesh and Agartala, India was Proposed by the Government of India in September 2011.[24]
  • There is no link to Burma.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]