Commercial services on restored India-Bangladesh railway link to start from Sunday

KOLKATA: Commercial services on the Haldibari-Chilahati railway link between India and Bangladesh, which had been defunct since 1965, will commence on Sunday with a goods train travelling to the neighbouring country, an official said.

The restored rail link was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on December 17 last year. “The first run of a commercial service between Haldibari and Chilahati will be on Sunday,” a Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) spokesman said.

He said that a goods train carrying stone chips will travel from Haldibari in West Bengal to Chilahati in Bangladesh’s Nilphamari District. With the addition of this link, there will be five operational rail routes between the two countries.

The distance between Haldibari Railway Station till the international border is 4.5 km, while that from Chilahati till the ‘zero point’ is around 7.5 km, another NFR official said.

In May 2015, in pursuance of the joint declaration at the Inter-Governmental Railway Meeting (IGRM) held in Delhi, the Railway Board sanctioned the construction of a new broad gauge line from the Haldibari station to the Bangladesh border.

“The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was operational till 1965. However, the war of 1965 effectively cut off all railway links between India and the then East Pakistan,” the Ministry of Railways had said in a statement in December 2020.