A new intercity train service connecting Dhaka and Rajshahi began service this morning with an aim to boost rail connectivity with the northern district.
The train ‘Bonolota Express’ began its test run from Rajshahi Railway Station, leaving for Dhaka at 10:10am this morning, reports our local staff correspondent.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the service through video conference. It was she who named the train after the famous heroine of Jibanananda Das.
Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton flagged off the train from the station.
The train will be running up and down Dhaka-Rajshahi six days of the week with Fridays off. Railway officials said the fare will be 10 per cent more than existing rates.
The train is scheduled to depart Rajshahi at 7:00am every day and reach Dhaka at 11.40am. It will leave again from Dhaka at 1:30pm and reach Rajshahi at 6:10pm.
The train has 12 coaches, imported from Indonesia recently, and two engines, imported from India in 2010. It was taken to Rajshahi from Ishwardi junction on April 23.
The no-break service will only halt for a mandatory five-minute operational stoppage before rolling its wheels over Bangabandhu Bridge on Jamuna river and a stop at Airport Station, Dhaka.
The new train is reducing the Rajshahi-Dhaka journey by one hour. The train would drive at 85 kilometres per hour and slow down to 16kmph speed while crossing a station.
The expected journey time through its 343-kilometre route is four hours and 40 minutes.
Three intercity trains – Silk City, Padma and Dhumketu express – are currently operating on the Rajshahi-Dhaka route with a six-and-half hour journey time.