Travelling from Guwahati to Kolkata via train can be a time-consuming journey, and there are several factors that contribute to the duration of this trip. However now, the 1,600 km distance between Kolkata and the North-Eastern states will be reduced to 500 km by the proposed India-Bangladesh train connection, Agartala-Akhaura train.
What Is The Agartala-Akhaura Rail Line?
The new India-Bangladesh rail line will cut the distance between North-Eastern states and Kolkata to 500 km from 1,600 km.
The Agartala-Akhaura railway project drastically improves connectivity between North East India and Kolkata as the distance is reduced to 500 km via… pic.twitter.com/ebyBXmzv9y
— The West Bengal Index (@TheBengalIndex) November 2, 2023
With the successful conclusion of a goods train testing on the 10.5-kilometre route, an international rail link between Agartala in Tripura and Akhaura in Bangladesh is one step closer to becoming a reality. Currently, passengers must take a lengthy, diversion through northern West Bengal and Guwahati in Assam in order to get by rail from Kolkata to the capital of Tripura, Agartala. The path then heads south in the direction of Tripura. It takes about 38 hours to complete the journey.
The Akhaura-Agartala cross-border rail link is now operational, allowing trains to travel via Bangladesh from Kolkata to Agartala. Bangladesh is situated in the middle of the landmass between northeastern India and the rest of the country, with only a narrow corridor in Bengal’s Siliguri, popularly known as the Chicken’s Neck, connecting the two.
The previously scheduled, far lengthier 38-hour journey will now only take 12 hours. It is anticipated that this will greatly increase passenger football. Those who avoided traversing this road because of its extreme distance will realise that the new path is considerably more convenient and practical.
Businesses will prosper in the area as well as passengers because trains can transport larger, heavier loads in large quantities. With a 6.78 km dual gauge rail line in Bangladesh and 5.46 km in Tripura, the rail link is 12.24 km long.
On Monday, a freight train trial run was conducted along the line. The experiment was effective. However, given the current state of the talks between the two administrations, passenger trains are probably going to begin operating later. Full-fledged train services between Agartala-Akhaura and Agartala-Chittagong (Chattogram) are anticipated to start after the passenger service trial run is finished. The state has stated time and time again that it hopes to eventually include Dhaka and Kolkata in the project.
Why Did It Take So Long Earlier?
Hon'ble PM Shri @narendramodi and PM of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated Agartala-Akhaura Cross-Border Rail Link project and Khulna-Mongla Port Rail Line Project set to strengthen connectivity and bolster ties between India & Bangladesh.#RailInfra4Northeast… pic.twitter.com/2xfrSGPh6W
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) November 1, 2023
Through video conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly launched three development projects with Indian assistance.
First and foremost, the geographical layout of the region plays a significant role in the extended travel time. The distance between these two cities is much longer due to the hilly terrain and the river systems that crisscross the region. The northeastern part of India is characterized by its rugged topography.
The region is home to the Eastern Himalayas. As a result, the train route has to wind its way through the hills. That not only increases the distance but also slows down the train due to the steep gradients and sharp curves. This geographical factor alone adds a significant amount of time to the journey.
Let’s hope this rail line effectively helps the passengers. Are you excited to get on this Agartala-Akhaura train?
Cover Image credits: X/The West Bengal Index
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