Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan yesterday said they were hopeful of completing all necessary procedures within two months to bring 20 locomotives from India to meet railway’s immediate needs.
“They [India] will give us those [the locomotives] for free,” he told reporters at his Rail Bhaban office.
With 72 percent of Bangladesh Railway’s (BR) locomotives already crossing their economic lives, the government is considering renting locomotives from India for the first time to help BR overcome the crisis.
BR sent a proposal to the railways ministry in April to “rent” or “secure as courtesy” 20 railway engines from India until the first batch of 70 locomotives -- 30 metre gauge (MG) and 40 broad gauge (BG) -- that Bangladesh bought from the US and South Korea starts arriving late next year.
“We want to bring those locomotives from India for the interim period,” the minister added.
According to BR, it has 178 MG locomotives, of which 139 have crossed their 20-year economic life. And of its 90 BG locomotives, 55 have crossed economic life.
Meanwhile, railway will launch a new train service with only three stoppages on the Dhaka-Benapole route tomorrow.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the “Benapole Express” through videoconference from her Gono Bhaban residence, the minister said.
He also said service of Rajshahi-bound Banalata Express would be extended to Chapainawabganj from tomorrow.
With an aim to boost rail connectivity with the northern district, the nonstop intercity train service began on Dhaka-Rajshahi route in April.
Now, the train will be operated on Dhaka-Chapainawabganj route with a stoppage in Rajshahi, the minister said.
ADVANCE EID TICKETS FROM JULY 29
Railway will start selling advance train tickets ahead of Eid-ul-Azha from July 29. Tickets will be sold at five different venues in Dhaka.
Fifty percent of the tickets will be sold online, he said. Advance tickets are usually sold only at Kamalapur Railway Station, and many holidaymakers spend sleepless nights at the station to secure those tickets.
But for the first time before last Eid-ul-Fitr, advance tickets were sold at different locations to ease the ticket-buying process and prevent excruciatingly long queues.
Sujan said tickets for all intercity trains to the country’s western destinations will be sold from Kamalapur Railway Station while tickets to Chattogram and Noakhali will be sold from Airport Railway Station.
Holidaymakers will have to buy their tickets for Mymensingh and Jamalpur from Tejgaon Station. Tickets for Netrakona-bound Mohonganj and Haor Express will be sold from Banani Station, the minister said.
Tickets to Sylhet and Kishoreganj will be sold from Old Rail Bhaban in Fulbaria area, he added.
Advance tickets for intercity trains for travelling on August 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 would be sold on July 29, 30 and 31 and August 1, 2 respectively, the railways minister said.
He said BR will operate eight special trains on different routes from August 8 till Eid day.
Reminded that thousands of holidaymakers tried to buy train tickets online clogging up the servers prior to last Eid, Sujan said CNS Limited, that provides online services to passengers on behalf of the railway, claimed there was no technical glitch in their system and they would take more steps in this regard.
The minister, however, said online sale of tickets will start at 6am while ticket sale at counters will start at 9am.
The step has been taken so that people who fail to buy tickets online can secure tickets from the counter, he added.