Bangladesh will have only one route for bullet train and it will run between Dhaka and Chattogram, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday.
The premier shared the information during an unscheduled discussion at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), a senior official of the planning ministry, who was present in the meeting, told The Daily Star.
Many countries, including China, have shown interest to establish bullet train lines in Bangladesh, a secretary said at the meeting.
However, another secretary gave the example of Saudi Arabia, which despite being a high-income country with vast unused lands, has no such train at all and opined that Bangladesh should not have more than one high-speed train route. Even, the maximum speed of the bullet train should not cross 200 kilometres per hour, he said. His comment was backed by the prime minister.
The feasibility study of the high-speed train, commissioned by the Bangladesh Railway, has already been completed.
The route has also been selected and work for the detailed design of the “passenger dedicated” railway project, involving around Tk 97,000 crore, is underway.
The journey from the capital to the port city will be slashed to only 73 minutes once the high-speed trains begin passenger services. An uninterrupted journey between Dhaka and Chattogram will take only 55 minutes. Now it takes around six hours.
A one-way journey will cost passengers around Tk 2,000, more than three times the fare of an AC seat on existing Bangladeshi inter-city trains.
The trains, which will run at a top speed of 300km/h, can carry approximately 50,000 passengers each way daily.
The planned high-speed railway route will be around 90km shorter than the existing route.
However, two prominent transport experts termed the project “highly ambitious” and questioned the capacity of the Bangladesh Railway to operate the high-speed train, when it has not yet introduced electric train.
Work for the detailed design of the project is expected to be completed in April, after which its development project proposal will be prepared.
Officials hope to place the project before the Ecnec by 2020.