The first Indian passenger train from Kolkata reached Bangladesh on Sunday on a trial run as the two countries are expected to witness the launch of the direct railway service from next month, officials said.
Railway officials said the inter-country Moitree Express entered Bangladesh territory through the western Darshana frontiers shortly after 11 am local time with six sleek and sky blue rail coaches and an inspection car carrying a 31-member delegation led by Indian Additional Home Secretary AE Ahmed.
Hundreds of Bangladeshis clapped and waved hands as the train crossed the border while railway officials at Darshana welcomed the passengers with bouquet and sweets.
The Moitree (friendship) express is expected to reach the Bagladesh capital later on Sunday after brief stopovers at two stations before reaching its destination at Dhaka Cantonment Station at the city outskirts.
Bangladeshi and Indian officials are expected to meet in Dhaka on Monday to finalise talks ahead of launching the regular direct passenger train services between Dhaka and Kolkata expectedly by mid August.
Officials earlier said the meeting, in which additional secretary of communication ministry ATM Ismail would lead the Bangladesh side, was expected to finalise the logistic issues of the train service that included introduction of box-type fencing along the route in the international border and immigration.
Officials earlier said the service could be started by July.