New engines are purchased at a cost of Tk1,123 crore
The West Bangladesh Railway Area will receive 40 new locomotives aimed at improving the quality of passenger service by injecting dynamism into rail services.
The chief mechanical engineer of the Kudrat-E-Khuda area said the engines will be purchased in the United States. Eight of them have already reached the country and the remaining 32 will be brought in in four phases.
Only wide gauge (BG) locomotives operate in the area and there are 92 engines with a lifespan of 20 years. Of these, 43 economic lives have already expired.
Engineer Khuda said that the cost of operating obsolete engines is higher than good ones. In addition, spare parts for older engines are not available in local markets.
To eliminate existing problems, the new engines are being purchased at a price of Tk 1,123 crore under the Bangladesh Railway Rolling Stock Project. Each of the engines costs TK 28.39 crore.
In view of the overall situation, the railway authorities signed an agreement with the American company “Progress Rail Locomotive Incorporation” relating to the purchase of 40 new BG engines in January 2019.
The motors are procured with the joint financial collaboration of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh.
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Project manager Mijanur Rahman said each of the diesel-electric engines contains 3,250 BHP with 18.8 tons of Excel load and that they are capable of running at a commercial speed of 130 kilometers per hour.
He said they very much hope to add the 32 engines to the WZ railroad by June of next year.
Engineer Kudrat-E-Khuda said the WZ will enter a new era by providing quality passenger services with the addition of new engines.
He said the WZ, covering the Rajshahi, Rangpur and Khulna divisions, currently operates 159 trains, including 50 intercity and some inter-country, on different routes, including the capital Dhaka and Kolkata in India.
Forty-six local or shuttle trains and sixty-three commuter or courier trains are also operated on various routes popular with passengers, he added.
He said the number of intercity train passengers on various routes has increased significantly over the past two years.
Considering the benefits for passengers in general, he said 31 major stations have been placed under the modern computerized seat reservation and ticketing system. Some of them, including Rajshahi, have started selling tickets and reserving seats through online systems.