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History

Railway operation in today's Bangladesh began on 15 November 1862 when 53.11 kilometres of 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) (broad gauge) line were opened for traffic between Dorshona of Chuadanga District and Jogotee of Kushtia District. The next 14.98 kilometres 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) (metre gauge) line was opened for traffic on 4 January 1885. In 1891, the construction of then Bengal Assam Railway was taken up by the British Government assistance but that was later on taken over by the Bengal Assam Railway Company. On 1 July 1895, two sections of metre gauge lines were opened between Chittagong and Comilla, a length of 149.89 kilometres and between Laksam Upazila and Chandpur District, a length of 50.89 kilometres. Railway Companies formed in England took up the construction and operation of these sections in middle and late 19th century. At time of the partition of India in 1947, Bengal-Assam Railway was split up and the portion of the system, about 2,603.92 kilometres fell within the boundary of then East Pakistan and control remained with the central Government of Pakistan.

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Later with the effect from 1 February 1961, Eastern Bengal Railway was renamed as Pakistan Eastern Railway. Then in 1962, the control of Pakistan Eastern Railway was transferred from the Central Government to the Government of East Pakistan and placed under the management of a Railway Board with the effect from the financial year 1962–63 by the presidential Order of 9 June 1962. As of 2005, the total length of railroad is 2,855 kilometres. Of that, 660 km are broad gauge tracks (mostly in the western region), 1,830 km are metre gauge tracks (mostly in the centra l and eastern regions) and 365 km are dual gauge tracks. The gauge problem is being tackled by adding third rails to the most important broad and metre gauge routes, so that they become dual gauge. A major road-rail bridge at Jamuna opened in 1998 to connect the previously detached east and west rail networks. On March 2008, the broad gauge reached Dhaka, the national capital. Funding is being sought to upgrade the network and transform Bangladesh Railway into a profitable business. BR exceeded its target revenue earnings in the fiscal year 2007–2008.

Organisational structure

After independence, the railway was first supervised by a Railway Board which was abolished in 1982. Thereafter, the BR came under the jurisdiction of the Railway Division of the Ministry of Communications with the Secretary of the Division working as the Director General of BR. In 1995, instead of being the part of the Ministry, BR came under control of a professional Director General supervised by the Bangladesh Railway Authority that is chaired by the Minister of Communications. BR is divided into two zones, East & West, each under control of a general manager who is accountable to the Director General of Bangladesh Railway. The two zones have their separate departments for operation, maintenance, and finances. Each zone is divided into two divisions that contain departments for Personnel,Transportation, Commercial,Finance Mechanical, Way and Works Signaling & Telecommunication, Electrical, Medical, etc. Each zone also has its Workshop Divisions, located at Pahartali and Saidpur respectively. A locomotive workshop is located at Parbatipur for broad and metre gauge locomotives.[10] BR manages its own Railway Training Academy. A separate Directorate under the Ministry of Communications is charged to inspect different works of BR in relation to safety.

Services

Bangladesh Railway provides various types of services ranging from shuttle service for university students to freight and cargo service. But BR does not make a profit as it is providing services to the nation at subsidised rates to help the country's economy and for the ease of the people. Passenger Trains in BR Currently four different class of trains, are operated by Bangladesh Railway.

Train Class Total (2015)
Intercity 82
Mail, Express & Commuter 78
DEMU Commuter 32
Shuttle / Local 137
Total 329

Apart from that, there are couple of more trains (Maitree Express) run between Dhaka, Bangladesh and Kolkata, India twice a week.

Passenger service

Bangladesh Railway is one of the principal modes of transportation in the country. During 2004–2005, about 42 million passengers were transported by Bangladesh Railway. Bangladesh Railway introduced Intercity Train services in 1985. At present there are 54 Intercity Trains running. Around 38.5% of the total passengers of Bangladesh Railway are being carried by the Intercity trains which contribute approximately 73.3% of the total earnings of passenger traffic.

Maitree Express

The Maitree Express is an international train in operation since 2008 and links Dhaka and Kolkata, India; the travel time is 13 hours.

Accommodation classes

Bangladesh Railway features mainly three classes of Travel: Air Conditioned Class, First Class and Second Class. Third Class was withdrawn as of 1 August 1989. Most of the trains have the First Class and Second Class only. Second Class is divided into Shovon Chair, Shovon, and Shulov sub-classes. In some trains a separate mail compartment is present. In Inter-City and long-distance trains, a restaurant car and a power car are included in the center. All Inter-City trains are partially air conditioned, feature padded leather seats and berths and provide passengers with on-demand sheets, pillows, blankets, as well as meals and refreshments.

Class Description
Tapanukul This is the most expensive class. This air conditioned coach is used only on popular Inter-City routes. The coaches are carpeted, have sleeping accommodation, ample leg room and have privacy features like personal coupes.
First class AC This class is relatively luxurious, but not air-conditioned; has sleeping berths, and ample leg room.
First class Chair Chair car or day coach with a total of five seats in a row on broad gauge trains and four seats in a row on metre gauge trains. used for day travel between cities.
2nd Class-Shovon Chair The 2nd Class Shovon Chair is basically a chair car preferred by most middle-class passengers. Has a total of five seats in a row on broad gauge trains and four seats in a row on metre gauge trains
2nd Class-Shovon One of the cheapest classes; seats are not very comfortable.
2nd Class-Shulov The cheapest accommodation, with seats made of pressed wood or steel and are cushioned. Only found in sub-urban and short-distance routes. Although entry into the compartment is guaranteed, a sitting seat is not guaranteed. These coaches are usually very crowded.