Passenger train service between Dhaka and Siliguri is likely to resume operations by the end of March – almost a year after the service was formally launched by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
The railway ministry has called an inter-ministerial meeting today (20 March) to confirm the date.
The meeting was scheduled after the Indian Railway wrote to Bangladesh asking to resume the passenger train service between the two neighbouring countries.
Fares, schedules of Mitali Express
According to a press release issued by the Bangladesh Railway (BR), Mitali Express will run from Dhaka's Cantonment on Mondays and Thursdays.
Meanwhile, the train will operate from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) on Sundays and Wednesdays and customs as well as immigration facilities will be provided at the stations in NJP, Dhaka Cantonment and Chilahati.
It will leave Dhaka at 9:50pm on Mondays and Thursdays and will reach NJP at 7:15am on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The train will then leave NJP at 11:45am on Sundays and Wednesdays and reach Dhaka at 10:30pm on the same days.
BR will sell tickets in three categories and each ticket of berth would be $44 and 15% VAT and Tk500 travel tax would be added to the ticket price.
With all that included the one-way travel on berth will cost Tk4,905.
Meanwhile, each cabin seat would be $33, meaning total cost of a ticket would be Tk3,805, while a chair seat would be $22, meaning the ticket would be Tk2,705.
However, tickets for children aged below five would be 50% of the regular cost.
Passenger train services between Bangladesh and India were suspended in March 2020 following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the suspension, two trains operated between the countries - Maitree Express on the Dhaka-Kolkata route and Bandhan Express on the Khulna-Kolkata route.