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amaar shonaar bangla*

A PEEK INTO THE RAILWAYS OF BANGLADESH

by: S. SHANKAR

*Literally translates as 'our golden Bengal' : (a popular Bengali expression both in India and in Bangladesh to denote the love for the motherland.)Literally translates as ''our golden Bengal'' : (a popular Bengali expression both in India and in Bangladesh to denote the love for the motherland.)

 

 

VISITS SINCE SEPT.1999:-

Number of hits mentioned above is inaccurate due to counters from previous provider being defunct for over two months without notice, consequent to which the starting number had to be extrapolated on this counter from another source.

 

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A quick roundup of the railways of our other neighbor: Bangladesh : home of the Royal Bengal Tiger


Bangladesh Railways (previously East Pakistan Railways) comprise of a total of 2,745 km of track, of which 923 km is broad gauge, and 1,822 km is meter gauge (1998) .

Bangladesh Railways are frequently plagued by problems like a severe scarcity of resources, disasters and disturbances (strikes), not to mention that the country herself is just about a quarter century old, which in itself leads to a separate set of problems, especially with establishing priorities and finding/allocating funds.

Bangladesh Rail information is very difficult to lay one's hands on, and there are no BR websites on the Net. However, several patriotic Bengalis have put up nice websites about 'my beautiful country' and 'beautiful Bangladesh' and the like, but railway info is very limited, if available at all.

Join me then, on a trip round Bangladesh Railways. Good old IR has played quite a big role in developing and rehabilitating the BR, in fact a few YDM/4 engines have been supplied to the BR , along with some freight and passenger cars.


Several of the photographs on this page are kind courtesy fellow irfca member Larry Russel, of the EMD Export fame. A link to his site appears further on in this page.

India recently reopened its rail link with Bangladesh (2000) after a long gap from 1965. Only freight trains ran then, with both countries hoping to commence passenger train services shortly.

READ ALL ABOUT THE INAUGURAL RUN HERE

The passenger link to Bangladesh too reopened in July 2001, with services from Sealdah (Calcutta) to Bangabandhu, via Darshana - Gede. Click on the thumbnail below to read a press cutting about this inauguration. More pictures appear further down on the page.

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BANGLADESH RAILWAYS OFFICIAL WEBSITE: I have been assigned by my associates in Bangladesh the onerous task of putting up on my domain the now defunct official Bangladesh Railway website. This is a mirror site, and has not been updated by the authorities in a while.  I understand that some sort of informal OK has been obtained at the Bangladesh end for this hosting of the BR site on my servers:

http://www.irfca.org/~shankie/brly/Default_old.htm


CLICK ON EACH THUMBNAIL FOR AN ENLARGED PICTURE.  THEREAFTER HIT THE 'BACK' BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER TO RETURN TO THIS PAGE.
ALTERNATIVELY, RIGHT CLICK ON THE URL AND SELECT 'OPEN IN NEW WINDOW' FOR UNINTERRUPTED VIEWING OF THIS PAGE.

No site can be complete without a map of the concerned railway. Although a map of the Bangladesh Railway was not available, here is a map of the country itself, which might be of use to some:

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More BR Maps: As with all other railways, BR too has ambitious growth plans. The series of maps below outline the growth of the system since 1998, and take you right through projected route expansion plans till 2015. (Source: Bill Mansoor, a Bangla railfan)

CLICK EACH MAP TO ENLARGE

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Bangla Rlys.: 1998 Bangla Rlys.: 1999 Bangla Rlys.: 2001
 

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  Bangla Rlys.: 2005 Bangla Rlys.: 2015

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1. A ng steamer of Amaar Shonaar Bangla Bangladesh Railways. Note striking resemblance to our own Little Shantipur engines of class CS, once used on the ER. These engines are no more in service. (Photo courtesy: Bangladesh Embassy, Abu Dhabi, 1991).


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2. A bg 0-6-0 of the Bangla Railway. Note striking resemblance to the ubiquitous Pakistan Railways 0-6-0. These engines are no more in service. (Photo courtesy: Bangladesh Embassy, Abu Dhabi, 1991).

(Sorry, the photos at # 1 and 2 have browned due to improper storage and age!)


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3. Meet the YDM/4's twin sister: an Alco-built diesel on the BR. Note striking resemblance to the YDM/4, except for the shape and position of the headlights. (Photo by Rolf Stumpf.)


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4.Another pic I came across on the web is this carbody diesel of the BR. These engines were built for Bangladesh by India's DLW, based on a design from Henschel (see # 9 below). The Indian DLW lineage is quite apparent from the shape of the side grillework and the shape of the bogies. (Photo by Rolf Stumpf.)


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5. A decreipt mg steam engine of Bangladesh Railways, possible awaiting breaking up. The origin of the machine is not very clear. While the sqarish firebox enclosure os typically British, the smokebox front is typical of the American WD locomotives. (Photo courtesy Larry Russel.)


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6. Looking almost identical to our own WDM/2 class of diesels, save for the screw coupling and twin sealed beam headlight is this mighty machine # 6104 in a shed in Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy Larry Russel.)


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7. You could mistake this for a diesel on US soil. An EMD built diesel of the Bangladesh Railways. One of the shed staff poses. (Photo courtesy Larry Russel.)


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8. Totally decreipt and badly in need of a fresh coat of paint is another example of an Indian WDM/2 lookalike, save for a slightly longer short hood. The engine has probably been scrapped, if the missing buffer and other elements are any indication. (Photo courtesy Larry Russel.)


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9. Although India's DLW built a few carbody type of diesels for the Bangladesh Railways, (see # 4 above), the original carbodies actually came in from Henschel, Germany. Here is one of the original Henschel machines. (Photo courtesy Larry Russel.)


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10. This one is even more American looking. While we generally associate American engines with size and power, its quite amusing to see one of those formidable beasts sporting a puny mg coupler and all! (Photo courtesy Larry Russel.)


In addition to providing us with most of the above pictures, fellow-irfca member Larry Russell has very kindly also allowed me to link this page to the Bangladesh page of his EMD website, so that we may have a complete picture of the railways in that country.

Click on the following url to continue your journey on Bangladesh Railways:

http://EMDExport.Railfan.net/bangladesh.html

HIT THE 'BACK' BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER TO RETURN TO THIS PAGE.

ALTERNATIVELY,RIGHT CLICK ON THE URL AND SELECE 'OPEN IN NEW WINDOW' FOR UNINTERRUPTED VIEWING OF THIS PAGE.

A big thank you, Larry.


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11. A m.g. d.m.u. on the erstwhile East Pakistan Railway (now Bangladesh Railways), with two trailer cars, circa 1965. (Photo courtesy John Lacey.)


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12. An ad from English Electric Traction circa 1970 for 550 hp m.g. diesel electrics for use in the Chittagong area on the erstwhile East Pakistan Railway (now Bangladesh Railways). (Photo courtesy John Lacey.)


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13. A view of the inaugural Indo-Bangla train on a small bridge. 14. An Indian built WDM/2 with minor modifications, including fitment of twin beam headlights powered the train. The engine is seen here just outside the works.

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15. The return journey: the Indian built WDM/2 running LHF (long hood forward) about to depart. Note twin beam headlights and additional triplex marker lamps. 16. Another view of the inaugural Indo-Bangla train on a small bridge.

I will continue to expand this site and add pictures and info as and when they become available, so do be sure to check back and visit again.


An Bangladesh Railway enthusiast has put up an interesting page called the Bangladesh Transportation Forum, which deals with all modes of transport in Bangladesh, including railways. Bill Mansoor is the ardent enthusiast, and he is my exclusive source of information about Bangladesh.

http://communities.msn.com/BangladeshTransportationForum/_whatsnew.msnw

Here is the webpage about the Bangabandhu bridge, over which the Indo-Bangla train will pass.

http://www.citechco.net/jmba/


Comments/questions?

e-mail me at: frontier_mail@yahoo.com

If you have enjoyed going through this page, take a look at some of my other web pages as well, which cover predominantly Indian, but also Pakistan Railways. Click on the following url. Select the topic that interests you most, and click on the url below the title to view page.

http://www.irfca.org/~shankie/index.htm


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