Bangladesh Railway is going to open a part of the 72km Akhaura-Laksam double line on 25 September, three months after the project's implementation period expired.
The 23 km double railway track from Cumilla to Laksam will ease the crossing system and save travel time by 15-20 minutes that a train usually spends to let another one pass, said MdShahidul Islam, director of the project.
The remaining 49 km double rail line and conversion of the existing rail line into dual gauge will be completed by June 2023, the extended time limit for the project.
"When the full project is completed, no train in the line will have to stop for crossing, which is the aim of this rail line," Shahidul said.
After completing the Akhaura-Laksam project, the 321 km Dhaka-Chattogram rail route will be a full double-line track. Currently only 249 km of the route has double lines.
The completion of double-track work will reduce the travel time to four hours on the Dhaka-Chattogram rail route, which is currently six hours.
The project director cited Covid-19 pandemic as one of the reasons that delayed construction work.
"Now we are aiming to complete the project within the extended time period," he said.
The Akhaura-Laksam Double Line project was approved in December 2014 and was supposed to be completed by June 2020, which was extended till June 2021 and again for two years.
The main construction work of the Tk6,504crore project commenced in November 2016, about two years after it was approved. The project has already been extended twice.
Apart from making double tracks for a 72 km rail line, two major and 11 minor stations will be upgraded under the project. A few hundred metres of access roads will also be constructed.
Expansion of the existing single track to double line under the project will increase the railway's current capacity to carry passengers and cargoes on the Dhaka-Chattogram track.
It will enable the railway to operate 72 pairs of passengers' and goods trains on the route, where currently 23 pairs operate.
As of 30 June, 2021, the project achieved 77.25% cumulative progress against total work sections. It had an overall financial cumulative progress of 75.1%, reports the Asian Development Bank.
Sources at the Bangladesh Railway said the Akhaura-Laksam Double Line Project, is part of the Dhaka-Chattogram Railway corridor which is a component of the Trans-Asian Railway Network, SASEC, SAARC & BIMSTEC corridors in Bangladesh.