India to resume services on rail link with Nepal after successful trial

Indian Railways conducted a trial run on the 8.5-km line from Jayanagar railway station to Khajuri in Nepal on Wednesday, which was declared successful

india Updated: Aug 12, 2018 07:44 IST
Anil Giri
Anil Giri
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
India Nepal rail link,Nepal,India Nepal train connectivity
In this photograph taken on June 14, 2017, old train engines of the Nepal Railway Corporation Ltd lie abandoned in Janakpur, some 300km south of Kathmandu. Three years after its last train hit the buffers, landlocked Nepal is building a new railway network to boost its ailing economy -- helped by the rivalry between its powerful neighbours, China and India.(AFP Photo)

India is going ahead with the resumption of services on the Jainagar-Janakpur broad gauge railway link with Nepal, raising hopes of better connectivity between the two countries.

Indian Railways conducted a trial run on the 8.5-km line from Jayanagar railway station to Khajuri in Nepal on Wednesday, which was declared successful. A cargo train with 53 bogies reached Khajuri station without any problems, officials said.

There have been no services on the line for the past four years. The trail run is being seen as a precursor to the resumption of full-fledged operations.

According to media reports, the cargo train carried 5,000 tons of ballast from India. “From now on, construction materials will be carried via railway. We have faced difficulties while transporting construction materials by road,” said Ravi Sahay, site chief with IRCON, the Indian Railways’ construction arm.

He said there will no problems in resuming train services following the successful trial run. A huge crowd gathered to watch the trial run.

The move is being seen as part of efforts to counter China’s plans to forge rail links with Nepal. After Beijing decided to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu, New Delhi proposed the construction of new railway links during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s recent visit to India.

Nepal and India have plans for four cross-border railway links, including one to link Raxaul to Kathmandu.

The construction of the new Janakpur-Jayanagar-Kurtha broad gauge rail link, being done with Indian assistance, is in its final phase. The line was originally built during the British Raj to transport logs from forests at Mahottari to India. At that time, the line Jayanagar in Bihar to Bijulpura in Mahottari was 52 km long. Around 15 years ago, floods swept away the Bighi bridge, disrupting railway services on the 29-km stretch from Janakpur to Jayanagar.

The Rs 5.5-billion (Nepalese Rs 8.8 billion) project is divided into three phases. The first includes construction of a 34-km segment between Jayanagar and Kurtha, the second comprises construction of an 18-km segment from Kurtha to Bhangaha in Mahottari district, and the third comprises construction of a 17-km segment from Bhangaha to Bardibas. Of the total length, only three kilometres is in Indian territory.

First Published: Aug 12, 2018 07:37 IST