Chilahati railway station
|Bangladesh Railway Station|
|Elevation||48 m (157 ft)|
|Structure type||Standard (on ground station)|
|Previous names||Eastern Bengal Railway|
|New Jalpaiguri–Haldibari–Parbatipur line|
Source: Google maps, Indian Railway – East Zone Time Table
Important track in the British period
During the British period all connections from southern parts of Bengal to North Bengal were through the eastern part of Bengal. From 1878, the railway route from Kolkata, then called Calcutta, was in two laps. The first lap was a 185 km journey along the Eastern Bengal State Railway from Calcutta Station (later renamed Sealdah) to Damookdeah Ghat on the southern bank of the Padma River, then across the river in a ferry and the second lap of the journey. A 336 km metre gauge line of the North Bengal Railway linked Saraghat on the northern bank of the Padma to Siliguri.
The 1.8 km long Hardinge Bridge across the Padma came up in 1912. In 1926 the metre-gauge section north of the bridge was converted to broad gauge, and so the entire Calcutta - Siliguri route became broad-gauge. The route thus ran: Sealdah-Ranaghat-Bheramara-Hardinge Bridge-Iswardi-Santahar-Hili-Parabtipur-Nilphamari-Haldibari-Jalpaiguri-Siliguri.
There are proposals to reoperationalise the Haldibari-Chilahati section. Bangladesh Railway will have to construct 7.5 kilometres of new rail tracks from Chilahati to reach the border while the Indian authorities have to set up 4.5 kilometres of tracks from its border to Haldibari railway station.
In the Joint Statement issued on the occasion of the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Bangladesh, on 7 September 2011, it was stated: "Bangladesh Prime Minister expressed her appreciation to the Indian Prime Minister for amendment of the MoU between the Bangladesh and Indian Railways allowing Rohanpur-Singabad as an additional route for both bulk and container cargo for Nepalese rail transit traffic. Bangladesh side also appreciated the assistance from India for the movement of fertilizers from Bangladesh to Nepal by rail route. They also agreed to re-establish rail connections between Chilahati-Haldibari and Kulaura-Mahishashan in the spirit of encouraging revival of old linkages and transport routes between the two countries."
Saidpur-Chilahati railway line
As of 2010, the 64 kilometres (40 mi) long Saidpur-Chilahati line was in such a bad shape that there was no fast train between Dhaka and Chilahati. In 2010, Taka 103.68 crore was sanctioned for the development of this line.
- "India: the complex history of the junctions at Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri". IRFCA. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
- "New rail transit route thru India gets govt nod". Priyo Internet Life. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "Joint Statement on the occasion of the visit of the PM of India to Bangladesh". Item No. 40. Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "Work on Saidpur-Chilahati railway project progresses". The Independent. 4 September 2010. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.