Bangladesh Railway

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Bangla Rail
Native name
বাংলাদেশ রেলওয়ে
TypeDepartment of the Government of Bangladesh
IndustryRailways and locomotives
Founded15 November 1971; 49 years ago (1971-11-15)
Area served
Key people
Dhirendra Nath Mazumder, Director General of Bangladesh Railway[1]
Revenue 8,002 million[2] (2014)
Decrease - 8,015 million[2] (2014)
OwnerGovernment of British Raj (Until 1947)
Dominion of East Bengal (1947-1956)
Government of Pakistan (1956-1962)
Government of East Pakistan (1962-1971)
Government of Bangladesh (1971 – present)
Number of employees
27,535[3] (2015)
DivisionsEast Zone and West Zone
Bangladesh Rail
National railwayMinistry of Railways
Major operatorsBangladesh Railway
Ridership65 million (2014) [2]
Passenger km8,135 million[2]
Freight2.52 million tonnes[2]
System length
Total3,600 kilometres (2,200 mi)
Double track1,225 kilometres (761 mi)
Track gauge
Metre gauge2,025 kilometres (1,258 mi)
Broad gauge1,575 kilometres (979 mi)
No. bridges3,650[2]
546 (Major)
3,104 (Minor)
Longest bridgeBangabandhu Bridge (dual gauge, 4.8 km)
Hardinge Bridge (broad gauge, 1.8 km)
No. stations498

Bangladesh Railway (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ রেলওয়ে) is the state-owned rail transport agency of Bangladesh. It operates and maintains all railways in the country, and is overseen by the Directorate General of Bangladesh Railway. The Bangladesh Railway is governed by the Ministry of Railways and the Bangladesh Railway Authority. Its reporting mark is "BR".[4]

The Bangladesh Railway system has a total length of 3,600 kilometres (2,200 mi). In 2009, Bangladesh Railway had 34,168 employees.[5] In 2014, Bangladesh Railway carried 65 million passengers and 2.52 million tonnes of freight. The railway made 8,135 million passenger-kilometres and 677 million tonne-kilometres.[2]


Rail transport in Bangladesh (the then British India) began on 15 November 1862, when 53.11 km of 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) (broad gauge) line was opened between Darshana in Chuadanga District and Jogotee in Kushtia District. On 4 January 1885, a further 14.98 km 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in) (metre gauge) line was opened. In 1891, the Bengal Assam Railway was constructed with the assistance of the government. It was later run by the Bengal Assam Railway Company.

On 1 July 1895, two sections of metre gauge railway were constructed by English railway companies. One connected Chhattogram and Comilla (149.89 km). The other connected Laksam Upazila and Chandpur (50.89 km).[6]

In 1947, at the time of the Partition of India, the Bengal Assam Railway was divided into two parts. The 2,603.92 km of track located in East Pakistan, came under the control of the central Government of Pakistan. On 1 February 1961, the Eastern Bengal Railway was renamed the "Pakistan Eastern Railway". In 1962, control of the Pakistan Eastern Railway was transferred to the Government of East Pakistan. On 9 June 1962, by order of the president, the Pakistan Eastern Railway management was assumed by a Railway Board.[6]

In 2005, the total length of the Bangladesh Railway was 2,855 km.[7] There was 660 km of broad gauge track (mostly in the western region), 1,830 km of metre gauge track (mostly in the central and eastern regions) and 365 km of dual gauge track.[8] In 1998, the Jamuna Bridge was built to connect the previously divided east and west rail networks in dual gauge.[9]

In 2010, funding was received for a bridge over the Titas River.[10] In September 2010, the Government of Bangladesh approved ten rail development projects costing 19·9 billion Bangladeshi taka including plans for new tracks and rolling stock.[11]

In 2011, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, officiated at the start of construction of a link which would cross several rivers to reach Cox's Bazar. The 100 km of gauge line started from the railhead at Dohazari, southeast of Chittagong. The plan was to reach Satkania, Dulahazra, Chakarin, Edgaon, Ramu and Cox's Bazar, with four major river bridges and a 28 km branch from Ramu to Gundum. In 2013, the Chhattogram Circular Railway was completed.

In 2015, construction of a 15 km branch to Agartala, Tripura in Northeast India commenced.[12] In 2017, land acquisition took place to facilitate the construction.[13]


From the end of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 until 1982, the railway was governed by a Railway Board. It then came under the Railway Division of the Ministry of Communications. The Director General of the railway was the Secretary of the Railway Division of the Ministry of Communications. In 1995, governance of the railway was assumed by the "Bangladesh Railway Authority" which was chaired by the Minister of Railways.[14] Inspections are made by an external government authority.

The features of Bangladesh Railway include the usage of several gauges and the division of the rail system by the Jamuna River, Brahmaputra into the Western Zone and the Eastern Zone of operations. Crossing the river is one bridge, the Jamuna Bridge which was completed in 2003.

The East Zone and the West Zone each have a General Manager who answers to the Director General of the Railway Authority. Each zone has its own raft of departments for operation, maintenance, and finances. Each zone is divided into two divisions with departments for personnel, transportation, commercial, finance mechanical, way and works signalling, telecommunication, electrical and medical services.

The East Zone has a workshop division in Pahartali. The West Zone's workshop division is in Saidpur. The railway has a central locomotive workshop for broad and metre gauge locomotives in Parbatipur. It also has a Railway Training Academy.[14] There are diesel workshops in Pahartali, Dhaka and Parbatipur. Maintenance on coaches and wagons is carried out at the "C and W" shop in Saidpur, Nilphamari and at the "C and W" shop Pahartali.

Rolling stock[edit]


A class 3000 locomotive of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Railway's fleet of diesel locomotives includes both diesel-electric and diesel-hydraulic machines.[15] In 2007, there were 77 broad gauge diesel-electric locomotives. In 2012, Bangladesh Railway ordered 16 new broad gauge locomotives of 3100 hp from Banaras Locomotive Works, India.[16] There were also 208 metre gauge diesel-electric locomotives including those of classes 2000, 2600, 2700, and 2900. The total number was 285. A small number of steam locomotives are preserved in Bangladesh.[17]

In 2019, 40 EMD GT42ACLs were ordered from Progress Rail.[18]

On 27 July 2020, Indian Railways (IR) handed over 10 WDM-3D diesel locomotives to Bangladesh Railway under its "grant assistance" plan. The vehicles cost an estimated ₹600m ($US 8m) to manufacture.[19]

Diesel-electric multiple unit[edit]

A DEMU train at Kamalapur railway station

Diesel-electric multiple unit (DEMU) trains first started their journey in Bangladesh on 24 April 2013.[20] Total 20 sets of meter-gauge DEMU were manufactured by Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co Ltd, China.[21] Each set comprises three units. Total 300 passengers can board a set, 149 by sitting and 151 by standing.[22] They are rated 460 hp and can run up to 20 km distance with a maximum speed of 80 km/h. They have a life-span of 30 years. Currently only 9 of 20 sets are active.[23]

Coaches and wagons[edit]

At the end of 2004–2005, there were 1406 coaches and 10236 wagons (7310 covered, 1115 open and 1811 special class) in Bangladesh.[24] In 2014, the railway owned 312 broad-gauge and 1,164 metre-gauge coaches.[2]

Passenger services[edit]

Parabat Express at Sylhet railway station

Railway is a principal mode of transport in Bangladesh. In the 2005 financial year, 42 million passengers traveled on the Bangladesh Railway.[25] Bangladesh Railway started inter-city train service in 1985. As of 2017, 90 inter-city trains (up & down) are currently active.[26] About 35.5% of total passengers travel by inter-city trains and about 73.3% of Bangladesh Railway revenue come from inter-city train service.[27] In the same year, Bangladesh Railway also operated 52 mail or express trains, 64 commuter trains (DEMU) and 135 shuttle or local trains and 2 international services.[28]

Two times per week, a passenger train operates a service to India. In April 2008, the Maitree Express between Dhaka and Kolkata came into operation on the Gede – Darsana route.[29] On 9 November 2017, a new weekly train, the Bandhan Express, came into operation between Khulna and Kolkata via Petrapole and Benapole (172 km).[30]

Fare and ticketing[edit]

Tickets for Bangladesh Railway services are available at almost all stations. Most stations are computerized and tickets which can be purchased within four days of departure, are printed. Full refunds (excluding clerical charges) are available up until two days before departure. The railway reserves ten percent of tickets for online sales. Of these tickets, fifteen percent are reserved for mobile phone sales.[31]

Accommodation classes[edit]

AC Sleeper coach of Sonar Bangla Express

Bangladesh Railway has three main passenger classes, "Air conditioned", "First" and "Second". Most trains do not provide the "Air conditioned" class. On inter-city and long-distance trains, a restaurant car and a power car are included at the centre of the train. Many inter-city trains are partially air-conditioned, feature padded leather seats and provide passengers with on-demand sheets, pillows, blankets, as well as meals in a dining car. Some diesel–electric trains provide commuter services.[32]

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 daily travel.
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 seat is not guaranteed. These coaches are usually very crowded.

Freight and cargo services[edit]

As a national carrier, Bangladesh Railway is obliged to carry essential commodities such as grain and fertiliser to remote parts of Bangladesh at discounted rates. Bangladesh Railway transports containers from the Port of Chittagong to Dhaka Inland Container Depot, where there are customs facilities.[33] The rolling stock to carry containers was manufactured from existing stock. On 5 August 1991, a container-only train came into service. A goods train operates from Singhabad and Petrapole, India to Rohanpur and Benapole, Bangladesh.[34]

Railway stations[edit]

Kamalapur railway station is the central railway station of Bangladesh which is situated at Dhaka. In 2015, Bangladesh Railway serviced 489 railway stations. These include one block hut, thirteen train halts, and four goods booking points. The new timetable of Bangladesh Railway has changed 26 trains in the new year 2020 which became active from 10 January 2020.[35]

International links[edit]

Benapole and Darshana of Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) had rail communication with India till the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. After a long gap, on 14 April 2008, rail communication with India restored with the introduction of Maitree Express train.[36][29] This train connects Kolkata railway station of India with Dhaka Cantonment railway station of Bangladesh via Gede-Darsana route. On 9 November 2017, Bandhan Express train came into operation.[37] This train connects Kolkata railway station of India with Khulna railway station of Bangladesh via Petrapole-Benapole route (172 km).[37][30][38] Besides Maitree and Bandhan Express, various freight trains are in regular operation between Bangladesh and India.[citation needed]

As of 2020, Bangladesh has no railway communication with Myanmar.[citation needed] In 2010, a project of constructing a dual gauge single-track railway on Dohazari–Ramu–Gundum route to connect with Myanmar was made.[39] It will also connect Bangladesh with the Trans-Asian railway.[39][40]


According to an annual report of Bangladesh Railway, it is estimated that 72% railway accidents of Bangladesh were due to human error, 23% due to mechanical failure, and the remaining 5% due to unprotected level crossings, careless crossing of rail tracks by vehicle drivers and pedestrians. Human error includes error or negligence by the loco master, stationmaster and guard, reckless driving. Mechanical failure occurs due to the malfunctioning of locomotives, defective tracks and signal system.[41]

There occurred many major railway accidents in Bangladesh which caused a lot of casualties. An accident occurred 4 June 1972, when a crowded passenger train from Khulna District collided with a standing freight train at Jessore District. 76 people died and about 500 were injured.[42][43] Seven years later, another major accident occurred on 26 January 1979 when a train derailed and overturned near Chuadanga, resulted in 70 deaths and 300 injuries. On 15 January 1989, a north bound mail train collided head-on with a Chittagong bound express train at Gazipur District. Several cars rolled off an embankment into a rice paddy. Due to the Bishwa Ijtema religious festival at Tongi, there were over 2,000 people in total on both trains, many riding on roofs or between coaches. At least 170 died and 400 were injured.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Retrieved 9 April 2021. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Railway Reform Progress Report" (PDF). Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 2 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ রেলপথ মন্ত্রণালয়ের সংক্ষিপ্ত ইতিহাস ও প্রধান কার্যাবলী [History of Ministry of Railways]. Ministry of Railways-Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh (in Bengali). Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Bangladesh Railway". Archived from the original on 3 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  6. ^ a b "History". Archived from the original on 15 November 2007. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  7. ^ "FAQ". Archived from the original on 20 December 2005. Retrieved 2005-12-26.
  8. ^ "Track, Bridges and Stations". Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-16.
  9. ^ "Railway Route Map -Bangladesh Railway-Government of the People of Republic Bangladesh - বাংলাদেশ রেলওয়ে-গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ সরকার". Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Bangladesh and India Finalise Rail Projects". Railway Technology. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Railway Gazette: Development projects get the go-ahead". Archived from the original on 29 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  12. ^ "Work on new India-Bangladesh railway link from 2015". The Times of India. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Rail project to connect India and Bangladesh begins; land acquisition notices served to 257 families". Firstpost. 30 July 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Ministry of Railways-Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh | রেলপথ মন্ত্রণালয়-গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ সরকার". 28 February 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Rolling Stock and Railway Freey". Archived from the original on 30 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  16. ^ "DLW bags order for 16 locomotives from Bangladesh Railways". 28 August 2012. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Preserved Steam Locomotives in Bangladesh". Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  18. ^ Bangladesh taps Progress Rail for GT Series power Railway Age 2 July 2019
  19. ^ India increases rail connections with Bangladesh Railway Gazette International 27 July 2020
  20. ^ চীনা ডেমু ট্রেন আর কিনবে না সরকার. (in Bengali). Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  21. ^ "PM opposes import of DEMU train". New Age. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  22. ^ "DEMU train becomes burden on railway". Daily Sun. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  23. ^ ডেমু ট্রেনের চাপে বেসামাল রেল. Prothom Alo (in Bengali). Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Rolling Stock and Railway Freey". Archived from the original on 30 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  25. ^ "Stores". Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  26. ^ বাংলাদেশ রেলওয়ে-গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ সরকার [Passenger Trains in BR]. (in Bengali). Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Bangladesh Railway". 7 December 2009. Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  28. ^ বাংলাদেশ রেলওয়ের যাত্রীবাহী ট্রেন. (in Bengali). Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  29. ^ a b "Bangladesh – India border reopens". Railway Gazette International. 5 August 2007.
  30. ^ a b "Tk 50 crore water vessels of Railway decaying at Balashi and Bahadurabad". The Daily Star. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  31. ^ "How to Buy Bangladesh Railway(Train) Ticket Online". Tech Thumbs. 13 October 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  32. ^ বাংলাদেশ রেলওয়ের যাত্রীবাহী ট্রেন. (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  33. ^ "Facilities of CPA – Chittagong Port Authority". Archived from the original on 12 May 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  34. ^ "India approves new railway link with Bangladesh". Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  35. ^ "Bangladesh Railway Schedule, Time table". 3 January 2020. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  36. ^ 2007-08-05T08:49:00+01:00. "Bangladesh - India order reopens". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  37. ^ a b "Prime Minister of India & Prime Minister of Bangladesh Jointly along with Chief Minister, West Bengal Flag off New Cross-Border Train between India & Bangladesh, "Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express" from Kolkata through Video Confencing". Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  38. ^ "Tk 50 crore water vessels of Railway decaying at Balashi and Bahadurabad". The Daily Star. 18 May 2011. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  39. ^ a b "Bangladesh-Myanmar railway project goes slow". New Age. 10 August 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  40. ^ "Bangladesh-Myanmar rail connectivity". The Daily Star. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
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  42. ^ Semmens, Peter (1994). Railway Disasters of the World: Principal Passenger Train Accidents of the 20th Century. Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 182. ISBN 1-85260-323-2.
  43. ^ "June 4, 1972—Trains collide in Bangladesh". History Canada. 4 June 2017. Archived from the original on 25 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  44. ^ Semmens, Peter (1994). Railway Disasters of the World: Principal Passenger Train Accidents of the 20th Century. Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 222. ISBN 1-85260-323-2.

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