With most trains operating in the country’s northwestern and southern regions failing to run on time primarily due to inadequate capacity of railway tracks, Bangladesh Railway is adding new trains in the regions without doing any proper assessment. The BR currently runs 42 trains in Joydebpur-Ishwardi section which has a maximum operating capacity of 22 trains a day. As a result, it has to apply “block system” which permits only one train to run at a time from one station to the next, forcing other trains to wait. This is already leading to schedule problems and regular delays.
In the last six months, the BR added four new trains to the section. Half of them drew lukewarm response from passengers and have simply made the delays worse. Given the existing circumstance, the most obvious question is: why the BR is planning to introduce even more trains to a section already running more trains than it can handle? Experts and insiders say it is for political reasons and because of pressure exerted by certain influential quarters.
And there are examples of politicians persuading railway authorities to run or launch trains in accordance with their election promises. But the problem is, when decisions are taken under such considerations without proper assessment, it leads to large scale suffering for the majority of people—as is currently happening with passengers regularly having to wait for hours on end in order to reach their desired destinations.
Whereas the railway authorities should work to make the situation better, the decision to add new trains will clearly make it worse. Such decisions should be made after assessing the financial viability of such a step and the convenience of the passengers.
Instead of unnecessarily adding new trains, the authorities should replace the worn-out coaches with new ones to make train travel more comfortable for passengers. Simultaneously, it should improve and add to the existing infrastructure so that more trains can be added to the section without it doing more harm than good.