The train with an engine and three cargo containers started from the Bangladesh side and rolled zero line of the border at Nischintapur in Agartala.
There has not been any official announcement over the date, but an official connected with the project said the inauguration was expected any day this month. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina will jointly flag off in virtual mode.
Indian MEA Joint Secretary (Bangladesh and Myanmar) Smita Pant who attended a regional dialogue on exploring new trade routes informed that work in Agartala-Akhaura rail project is almost completed. She said the route would be the sixth operational rail link with Bangladesh and preparations are on to establish the seventh will be with Assam.
Except for some interior works, the state-of-art rail station has been ready at Nischintapur in Agartala. The MoU between two countries for the rail connectivity project was signed in 2010 during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India.
June 2023 was the target for completion of 10.5 km (5.46 km on Indian side). But it got delayed by three months due to some construction related issues, the railway officials said.
Before the trial with freight train, several trials were ‘Gang Car’ in the past two weeks. Experts of both countries also made joint inspections.
Officials of Tripura government earlier said initially freight trains would run on the cross country rail route and it would take a couple of months to prepare a schedule for passenger trains. British era Akhaura rail junction would be a connecting point for onward journey of goods and passengers trains in directions to West Bengal and Chittagong, the largest sea port in Bangladesh.India has spent over 1,100 crore for completion of the project aimed to benefit Tripura and other north-eastern states in the inhospitable region in terms of cost reduction towards transportation of goods and passengers.
Travel distance between Agartala and Kolkata would reduce to 513 kilometres after opening of the rail services.