It remained closed for years, but now it will be seen again – in a new avatar.
Popular since the beginning of the 20th century, the railway service between Nepal and India is ready to resume the first-ever passenger service of the neighboring country with a wide gauge. The first section is ready: a 34-kilometer line between Jayanagar in Bihar and Kurta in Nepal, between which lies the Hindu pilgrimage city of Janakpur Dham.
On October 21, Nepal Railways is to take over the assets of the 68.73 km section of the Jainagar-Bardibas road from the Indian engineering company IRCON, which built the line. In yet another case, Jainagar station will have a parallel building operated by the Nepal Railway Company.
Indian Railways assured their Nepalese partner of all assistance so that operations can begin as early as possible. Konkan Railway Corporation Limited has been awarded a contract for the operation and maintenance of the line, and will also train and develop the workforce provided by Nepal in accordance with a bilateral agreement.
It is advisable that Nepal start operations by this year. “We stressed that early transactions will avoid asset deterioration,” an Indian official said. Indian express…
Sources said that given the importance of the project and the ability to connect to the Janakpur pilgrimage site, the opening of the first commercial service will be a politically “high-profile” affair, the date and time of which will be jointly determined.
In 1937, the British built a narrow-gauge line to carry goods, mainly logs, from Nepal to India. However, it became a popular passenger service over time, before being stopped in 2014 to change to a wide gauge.
New Delhi decided to carry out all the re-equipment of the track, including trains to operate on this line. The second section of 17 km from Kurta to Bijalpur is also in its final stages. For the remainder to Bardibas, the land is transferred to IRCON. The construction cost of Rs 784 crore for the entire site is borne by India in the form of a grant to Nepal.
According to the approximate timetable, the train from Jainagar to Kurtu will take about an hour with stops at six stations in Nepal between them – Inerva, Khajuri, Mahinatpur, Baydehi, Parvaha and Janakpur. A total of three daily trips are planned, officials said.
The Nepalese Railway Company will dispatch commercial personnel, from stationmaster to ticket inspector, all trained in India.
The line is seen as a small link to a larger plan to deepen India’s ties with Nepal via railways, bypassing the influence of other neighboring countries in this strategically important region.
Earlier this week, a joint India-Nepalese working group signed an agreement to finalize the location of the broad gauge track between Raxaul in Bihar and Kathmandu. When ready, it will be a mountain railway that will direct rail links between the capital of Nepal and the Indian network, opening up many paths for cross-border traffic.