All is set to start operation of 'Mitali Express', the third India-Bangladesh train service on Wednesday (Jun 1) from New Jalpaiguri station in West Bengal, India to Dhaka Cantonment station in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan and his Indian counterpart Ashwini Vaishnav will jointly flag-off the 'Mitali Express' in a virtual format from the Rail Bhaban, headquarter of Indian Railway ministry in New Delhi, official sources said.
The Bangladesh railway minister arrived in New Delhi on Saturday (May 28) on a week-long official visit to India. Apart from flagging-off the train, the minister will visit Lucknow, Varanasi, Raebareli and Tughlakabad to inspect some railway coach factories there.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Railways of India Darshana Jardosh on Sunday inspected the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in West Bengal ahead of flagging-off the 'Mitali Express'. She reviewed the station operations, public service and maintenance of cleanliness at the station.
"Conducted an inspection visit of New Jalpaiguri Railway Station of Northeast Frontier Railway in West Bengal. Reviewed the station operations, public services and maintenance of cleanliness at the Railway Station," she tweeted.
The minister stated that the Mitali Express, in addition to bilateral connections, will help to bolster tourism prospects and in the next few days, a hospital, shopping malls and low-cost hotels will be constructed in the area to help people navigate around the station, media reports say.
According to sources, the train will take nine hours to travel 513 kilometres between New Jalpaiguri and Dhaka Cantonment station. It will be operated by a diesel engine and will have four air-conditioned cabin coaches and four air-conditioned chair cars.
The 'Mitali Express' will leave the New Jalpaiguri station in northern West Bengal at 11.45 a.m. and reach Dhaka at 10.30 p.m. Bangladesh time, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) on India's Northern Railway told media.
It will only stop for 10 minutes each at Haldibari, the last station on the Indian side, and Chilahati – which is the first station on the Bangladesh side – for the change of drivers. Otherwise, it does not have any other stoppage.
During its return journey, Dhaka Cantonment – New Jalpaiguri Mitali Express will also run two days a week – on Monday and Thursday, which will leave Dhaka Cantonment at 21:50 hours (BST), the CPRO added.
While the train will arrive at Chilahati (Bangladesh) at 05.45 hours (BST), it will depart from Chilahati at 06.15 hours (BST). Further, the train will arrive at Haldibari (India) at 06.00 hours (IST) and depart from Haldibari at 06.05 hours (IST) to reach New Jalpaiguri at 07:15 hours (IST), Indian Railway sources said.
They added the train tickets for this journey will be available at the overseas Passenger Reservation System counters at New Jalpaiguri Station and Kolkata Railway Station.
Meanwhile, the other two Indo-Bangladesh passenger trains – Maitree Express and Bandhan Express, whose operations were disrupted due to Covid-19 restrictions, started their operations on Sunday.
Maitree Express, which began service in 2008 is the first train to run between the two countries since the British partitioned India in 1947. Bandhan Express began service later that year.