First goods train through revived Haldibari – Chilahati rail link leaves for Bangladesh

The first goods train carrying stone chips to Bangladesh through the revived HaldibariChilahati rail link leaves from Damdim station of Alipurduar Division in Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) on Saturday.

The Haldibari – Chilahati rail link between India and the then East Pakistan was operational till 1965. This was part of the Broad Gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri during partition. Trains travelling to Assam and North Bengal continued to travel through the then East Pakistan territory even after partition. However, the war of 1965 effectively cut off all the railway links between India and the then East Pakistan.

In pursuance of the joint declaration in the Inter-Governmental Railway Meeting (IGRM) held in Delhi in May, 2015; Railway Board sanction for construction of a new BG line from Haldibari station (India) to Bangladesh Border for connection with Chilahati (Bangladesh) in 2016-17 in order to reopen this erstwhile rail link.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Haldibari – Chilahati rail link on 17.12.2020 during the PM level virtual bilateral summit. However due to the Covid pandemic, regular train services could not be started in the section since then.

Haldibari – Chilahati route will provide a shorter route for transit of goods into Bangladesh from Assam, West Bengal, Nepal and Bhutan. This rail link will enhance rail network accessibility to the main ports, dry ports and land borders to support the growth in regional trade and to encourage economic and social development of the region. Economic activities of these South Asian countries will also be benefitted from this new rail link.

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