The first passenger train to run on a broad gauge railway track between India and Nepal is most likely starting from December this year. It’s not a mean feat given that the train will be going from one country to another. The route of the train is in place: it will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch. The Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line was originally built during the British Raj to transport logs from forests at Mahottari to India. At that time, the line was 52 km long; but due to the floods about 15 years ago, the Bighi bridge got swept away disrupting railway services between the two countries. Also Read - India Records 12,584 COVID Cases in Last 24 Hours, Lowest in Seven Months | Key Points
The Nepalese authorities have intimated the railways that the section will be opened with the trains making four trips, plying between eight to 16 hour shifts. While the first train is to be a passenger train, the Nepalese would also want to run both passenger and freight trains on this section. Also Read - Meet Air India's Zoya Aggarwal Who Commanded World's Longest Direct Flight Over North Pole
An immigration check-post is likely to be established at Jayanagar station manned by either the Bureau of Immigration or the State Government. Though it is an international train service, no visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the frontier through this stretch, making it rather stress-free and fuss-free. Also Read - January 16 to be Vaccination Day One, Bird Flu Confirmed in 7 States, Indonesian Plane Crashes With 62 Aboard and More
With development all around such China’s efforts in building rail links with Nepal, India has taken inspiration. Beijing has been pro-active in deciding to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu; and the opportunity for India arose when Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli recently visited New Delhi. Nepal and India have plans for four cross-border railway links, including one to link Raxaul railway terminus in Bihar to Kathmandu.
The 5.5 billion project is divided into three phases: the first includes construction of a 34-km segment between Jayanagar and Kurtha, the second comprises construction of an 18-km segment from Kurtha to Bhangaha in Mahottari district, and the third comprises construction of a 17-km segment from Bhangaha to Bardibas. Once it is functional, the sale of tickets will be made through an unreserved ticketing and passenger reservation system facilitated by the railways.