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History

Bangladesh Railway at present has got 2855 route kilometers. It required sustained efforts for over a century to build the network .The story dates back to 1862, when the first section of 53.11 kilometers of board gauge line was opened for traffic on 15th November that year between Darsana and Jagati. The next railway connection opened to traffic was between Dhaka and Narayangonj, a distance of 14.98 kilometers on 4th January 1885. Then gradually, these rail lines were extended and new sections constructed to cover more areas. In 1891, the construction of then Assam-Bengal Railway was taken up with British Government assistance but that was later on taken over by the Assam-Bengal Railway Company.On 1st July 1895, two sections of meter gauge lines were opened between Chittagong and Comilla, a length of 149.89 kilometers and between Laksam and Cahndpur, a length of 50.89 kilometers.

Railway Companies formed in England took up the construction and operation of these sections in middle and late 19th century. Their primary objective was to operate these sections purely commercial considerations. But later on when various sections were liked up, the British Government of India found them very important for their strategic, political and economic points of views and therefore, the Government also came in the picture with statutory control and regulations for operation and management of the Railway.

On 1st January 1942, the Assam –Bengal Railway was amalgamated with the Eastern Bengal Railway under the name “Bengal and Assam Railway .At time of the partition of India in 1947, Bengal-Assam Railway was split up and the portion of the system, about 2,603.92 kilometers long which fell within the boundary of erstwhile East Pakistan was named as Eastern Bengal Railway, the control remaining with the central Government of Pakistan Later with the effect from 1st February 1961, Eastern Bengal Railway was renamed as Pakistan Railway. Then in the year 1962, the control of Pakistan Eastern Railway was transferred from the Central Government to the Government of then East Pakistan and placed under the management of a Railway Board with the effect from the financial year 1962-63 by the presidential Order of 9th June 1962.

At the end of 1996-97, Bangladesh Railway had a total of 459 numbers of stations, 241 in Eastern Zone and 218 in the Western Zone, spread over 2768 route kilometers of tracks consisting of two gauges ,viz, Broad Gauge (1676mm) of 914kilometers in the Western Zone only and Meter Gauge (1000mm) of 1296 kilometers and 558 kilometers on the East Zone and the west Zone respectively. In 1996-97, it owned a fleet of 284 locomotives, 1,245 passengers carriages, 152 other coaching vehicle and 1,2948 units of freight wagons, but effectively availability for services was much less.

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