Quantcast

Another India - Bangladesh Rail Border Crossing being reinstated

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,129
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
It is time again fro some more news from the Indian subcontinent...


The old rail link between Chilahati (Bangladesh) and Haldibari (India) which used to be the main line connecting Kolkata with Siliguri and Darjeeling (via DHR) before partition, is being reinstated this December (2020). Some service, though no through service from Kolkata after 1950, continued on this route until the 1965 India-Pakistan conflict. There has been no service since then, and Pakistan had removed the trackage from the border to Chilahati (about ten miles). India did'nt remove the track, but let it decay in disuse over the years from Haldibari station to the border. On the Bangladesh side there are express trains train that connect Chilahati to Dhaka (Nilsagar Express) and Khulna (Simanta Express). On the Indian side there is an express train that connects Haldibari to Kolkata (Chitpur) (Kolkata Haldibari Express) and several passenger trains each day between New Jalpaiguri, the major rail junction in North Bengal and Haldibari. The route to Haldibari is fully electrified.

It will be initially freight only, but relatively soon after its opening there are plans to run a passenger service from Siliguri to Dhaka. That would be the third international rail passenger service between India and Bangladesh. The two that exist now (temporarily suspended with the rest of IR regular service for COVID) are between Kolkata and Dhaka using the Gede-Darshana border crossing, and Kolkata and Khulna using the Petrapole - Benapole border crossing. Customs and Immigration for these two routes take place at Kolkata (Chitpur) International Terminal, with a brief stop at the border for crew change. There are also frequent EMU Kolkata Suburban service to both Gede and Bongaon (station preceding Petrapole).

Interestingly, Indian electrification runs almost all the way upto the border in all these three crossings, though the international trains run with diesel traction in India since the power switchover to Bangladesh Railway's diesel takes place at the border station in Bangladesh. With the completion of complete electrification in South half of West Bengal state diesel engines are becoming scarce around Kolkata with all diesel loco sheds now converted to electric loco sheds, it is possible that these two trains would be converted to electric traction with loco changeover moved to the Indian border station sometime in the near future.

Meanwhile on India's western frontier with Pakistan, electrification so far has not gotten anywhere near the border. That is changing with electrification work starting on the Thar Express (Karachi - Munabao - Jodhpur) route which crosses the border in the state of Rajasthan at Munabao (India). Electrification is slated to be completed to Munabao by 2023.

The other open border crossing is at Attari near Amritsar the route of the more well known Samjhauta Express (Delhi-Lahore) and so far no plans to electrify the little used 24km branch line. It used to be a very heavily used main line of the pre-independence North Western Railway connecting Delhi with Lahore and Peshawar near the border with Afghanistan. A lot of the atrocities on trains that took place during partition took place on refugee trains plying this route.
 
Last edited:

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,823
Location
Nottingham, England.
I confess I had to look up Attari… I enjoyed a visit to the border closing ceremony between India and Pakistan at Wagah, but now realise that is just for road traffic.
I can't wait to get on an Indian train again, going anywhere!
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,129
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I confess I had to look up Attari… I enjoyed a visit to the border closing ceremony between India and Pakistan at Wagah, but now realise that is just for road traffic.
I can't wait to get on an Indian train again, going anywhere!
If you don't already have it you should try to get yourself a copy of "The Great Indian Railway Atlas" 2nd or 3rd Edition put together by my friend Samit Roychoudhury. Unfotunately they are not available as new any more, and often the second hand ones are crazy expensive. We are trying to goad Samit into hurrying up with the 4th Edition, since even the 3rd Edition is quite out of date now, considering how quickly the network is growing and getting electrified. Hopefully he will oblige soon and then it will be available for a reasonable prices again.

Just the other day I was watching a video of the whole journey by a train called "Padatik Express" from Kolkata (Sealdah) to New Alipur Duar, and following the journey on the 3rd edition maps. To my dismay I discovered that past Jalpaiguri Raninagar the train followed a route to New Coochbehar that is shown on the map as "Rough alignment being surveyed". It is all built and in service, and in the process of getting electrified. 3rd Ed came out in 2015!.
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,823
Location
Nottingham, England.
I do have the 3rd edition, bought when I visited the National Railway Museum in Delhi a couple of years ago.
The speed of improvement and modernisation of Indian Railways is quite remarkable these days.
I often watch videos of the Indian train trips on youtube to get my "fix" in these covid times!
Fingers crossed for some light at the end of that particular tunnel soon...
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,129
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
BTW, the ribbin cutting ceremony for the restored link happened on Oct 26th st the border with several thousand people in attendance, who came to see the Pandrol Clip driving (there are no spikes to drive into concrete ties) and ribbon cutting ceremony There were apparently two WDM-3 (ALCO derivatives built by DLW Varanasi) one of Bangladesh Railway and another of Northeast Frontier Railway (Indian Railways) at hand too.

The article where I got this information from is in Bengali, and since I don;t think anyone knows how tor ead Bengali here I am refraining from posting it here.
 
Top