Dhaka, Nov 17 (UNB) – The government has taken an initiative to launch a luxurious tourist train service from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar via Chattogram upon installation of new railway tracks from Dohajari to Cox’s Bazar.
Talking to UNB, Railways Minister Mujibul Haque said a process to procure 54 deluxe tourist coaches has started as the project aims to attract more local and foreign tourists to the world’s longest sea beach.
The minister said the Development Project Proposal (DPP) has already been finalised and dispatched to the Planning Commission involving an estimated cost of Tk 356 crore.
The government will provide Tk 78 crore for the project while the rest of Tk 278 crore will come as foreign assistance, official sources said.
Mujibul Haque said, “The government is working to close the distance between the capital and Cox’s Bazar sea beach by introducing non-stop train service.”
These air-conditioned trains will run along with the regular railway service with a minimum number of stoppages, he said adding, “Those coaches will feature wide berth service along with railway’s own catering service, security guards and scope of sightseeing.”
According to Railway sources, the initial plan was to run four trains every day from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar via Chattogram, including the facility of return journey.
Under the new plan, two trains will set out from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar and two from Cox’s Bazar to Dhaka at the same time while 20 percent of the 54 coaches will be kept aside as spares at both ends.
Six meter-gauge tourist coaches (city), 13 air-conditioned sleeping cars, 22 air-conditioned chair cars, seven power cars along with air-conditioned dining cars and guard breaks are listed for procurement, spending Tk 255.16 crore.
Officials said construction works on dual gauge lines on Dohajari-Cox’s Bazar route and Cox’s Bazar-Gundum (located near Myanmar) via Ramu started in January this year.
The whole project will be implemented in two phases with CREC of China and Toma Construction implementing the first phase of laying lines from Dohajari to Chakoria at Tk 2687.99 crore, according to the officials.
They said Bangladesh’s Max Infrastructure Ltd along with China’s CREC will implement the second phase with expected cost of Tk 3502. 5 crore.
Under the project, 102km-long new dual gauge railway tracks will be laid alongside constructing 184 rail-bridges, nine station buildings, platforms and shades, including an iconic clamshell shaped station building in Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh expects to get connected with Trans-Asian Railway Corridor upon completion of the project.
A three-member committee with Railway Additional Director Monjurul Alam Chowdhury as its convener assessed the feasibility of tourist car import before reporting to the Railway Board in September next year.