AUGUST is expected to see the launch of through passenger services between Kolkata and Dhaka, according to the Director-General of Bangladesh Railways Belayet Hossain.

This will see the restoration of cross-border passenger services between India and Bangladesh after a suspension of 42 years.

Hossain's announcement followed the running of a special Friendship Train between the two countries on July 8, carrying a team of 31 Indian government and railway representatives to negotiate the final details. A returning Bangladeshi delegation was due to visit India to sign a formal accord by the end of July.

The intention to restore international passenger trains was announced by the two governments when the Petrapole border crossing reopened for freight (RG 3.01 p145), but broad-gauge through trains could not reach Dhaka until BR's line from the Jamuna bridge to the capital's Kamalpur station had been converted to dual-gauge.