New Delhi: The passenger train service between Khulna and Kolkata was launched today ending the long wait for another train for smooth communication between Bangladesh and India.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi officially inaugurated the service through a video conference from New Delhi.
However, the train is scheduled to run on regular basis from Pahela Baishakh. The train will be operated through Benapole from the Bangladesh side and Petrapole from the Indian side. Primarily, Maitree Express-2 will make its trip once a week. The number of train trip would increase later.
Railway Minister Mujibul Haque and Fisheries and Livestock Minister Sayedul Haque were present at the inaugural ceremony at Benapole rail station.
The new train, Maitree Express-2, left Benapole rail station on a test run for Kolkata around 2:00pm. “Earlier, the train comprising with five compartments and an engine left Khulna rail station with 38 passengers at 8:15am,” Kazi Amirul Islam, station master of Khulna rail station, told The Daily Star.
No general passenger boarded the train but local politicians and several railway officials took the voyage. People from all walks of life gathered at the station and took ‘selfies’ with the train which was decorated with flowers and colourful banners. The Maitree Express-2 is set to be more comfortable from Pahela Baisakh as all the compartments will be fully air conditioned.
Besides, it will have improved coaches comprising four first-class AC coaches and as many AC chair cars, Indian Railway Ministry officials told The Daily Star today.
The announcement of the facilities are likely to be contained in the joint statements of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi after their talks later in the day today, the Railway Ministry officials said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in New Delhi yesterday on a four-day official visit to India. During her stay there, agreements in different areas, including the railway sector, are expected to be signed.