Good news for train passengers.
Bangladesh Railway is going to launch a nonstop intercity train service on Dhaka-Rajshahi route from April 25.
A mobile app will also be launched on April 28 -- enabling passengers to avail services fast and with ease, officials said.
Once the train service -- Banalata Express -- is launched, passengers will be able to travel to Rajshahi from Dhaka within 4 hours and 45 minutes, around one and a half hours less than the current travel time.
This would be the third nonstop train; currently two trains are plying the Dhaka-Chattogram route.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will launch the train service through video conference from Dhaka at 10am on April 25, Shariful Alam, senior information officer of railways ministry, said.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan and Rajshahi City Corporation Mayor AHM Khairuzzman Liton will attend the inauguration programme from Rajshahi.
The train, however, will be open to passengers from April 27, another railway official said.
Bangladesh Railway (BR) originally planned to launch the service on April 14, first day of the Bangla year.
The train, that has 12 new coaches imported from Indonesia, is waiting at Ishwardi junction and it would be taken to Rajshahi on April 23 for the inauguration, railway officials in Rajshahi said.
As per its regular schedule, the 928-seat train will start at 7am from Rajshahi station and reach Dhaka at 11:40am. It would start again from Dhaka at 1:30pm and reach Rajshahi at 6pm.
Three intercity trains -- Silk City, Padma and Dhumketu Express -- are currently operating daily on the Rajshahi-Dhaka route, having stoppages at 10 to 14 stations.
A nonstop train between the capital and Rajshahi has been a long-time demand of the region's people.
ADVANCE EID TICKETS AT 6 SPOTS
Advance train tickets for upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr for travelling from Dhaka will be available at six spots -- five in the capital and one in Gazipur, Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujon said yesterday.
The six spots are Dhaka University, Fulbaria, Mirpur, Kamalapur Railway Station and Airport Railway Station in the capital, and Joydebpur in Gazipur, reports UNB.
MOBILE APP LAUNCHING ON APRIL 28
A mobile app -- enabling passengers to avail a number of services -- will be launched on April 28, Pronab Kumar Ghosh, additional secretary of the railways ministry, said yesterday.
The railways minister is expected to inaugurate the service at Kamalapur Railway Station at 11am on that day.
At first, all intercity trains will come under the service, Pronab, also head of a member committee formed to implement the project, said.
Total number of trains in Bangladesh is 352, of which 90 are intercity, according to BR.
Officials said once the app is operational, a passenger will be able to book and buy train tickets and pay using their phones, as well as locate nearby railway station, trains and transport service.
A passenger will also be able to buy food using the app. To avail the services, a passenger has to download the app and register -- providing name, address, mobile number and NID card number or birth registration certificate, they said.
Currently one can avail several services -- including booking of tickets -- online and via SMS. Once the app is launched, people can avail all services from one platform, they said.
Of the total tickets, 25 percent are sold online currently which may increase up to 50 percent after the app is launched, an official said.
Pronab, however, said the minister will take a decision in this regard later.
Our staff correspondent from Rajshahi contributed to this report.