THROUGH PASSENGER services between Kolkata and Dhaka are set to resume by the end of this year, following a trial run from Tangail to Kolkata and back on July 11-12. The Joint Secretary at the Bangladesh Communications Ministry M Ataur Rahman signed an agreement with Indian High Commissioner M L Tripathi last month to restore services over the 350 km via Darshana and Gede, which last ran in 1965.

The launch is tied to the completion of the dual-gauge rail link from the new Bagabandhu bridge across the Jamuna river (RG 6.01 p380). Broad-gauge trains from Kolkata’s Sealdah station will initially terminate at Joydepur, until 34 km of BR’s metre-gauge eastern main line into the Bangladeshi capital is converted to mixed gauge next year.

Freight trains were restored on the cross-border route via Petrapole and Benapole on January 24, following repairs to the 37 km between Jessore and Bongaon, and the possibility of running passenger trains this way is to be studied.

During June BR put into service the first of 10 broad-gauge diesel locos being supplied by Rites for 1bn taka. Five have been delivered to Parbatipur works for commissioning, and the remainder are expected to follow later this year.