Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan on Tuesday inaugurated the test run of a special train from Bhanga to Mawa via the Padma Bridge.
The train began its journey at 1:22pm and reached Mawa at 3:24pm, reports BSS.
Water Resources Deputy Minister AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem, Chief Whip of Jatiya Sangsad Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury, lawmakers Mujibur Rahman Chowdhury, Naeem Razzak, Shagufta Yasmin Emily, Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap and Faridpur Zila Parishad chairman Shahadat Hossain were present.
The first train crossed the Padma Bridge on trial basis packed with enthusiastic political leaders and activists.
The train with seven newly imported Chinese coaches started from Bhanga Station at 1:21 pm and reached the approach point in Shariatpur of Padma Bridge at 2:38 am and the bridge at 2:48 pm.
It took 16 minutes to cross the 6.15-km bridge at a speed of 20 km per hour.
The train that crossed Bhanga Junction, Panchor Shariatpur Station and Padma Station to finally end the trail run at Mawa Station at 3:18 pm.
Railway minister Nurul Islam Sujon experienced the trail run along with chief whip and deputy minister for water resources and local MPs.
A significant number of political leaders and activists crammed the train amid risk.
The Bangladesh Railway ran the train with plus and minus 20 km speed.
Though 42.2 km track placement work was completed to run train experimentally, stations in between Bhanga and Mawa were not completed.
According to Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, work of four stations, 13 major bridges and four signaling systems were completed.
Progress of Mawa-Bhanga part is recorded 91 per cent progress while progress from Mawa to Dhaka was 72.50 per cent and Bhanga-Jashore 68 per cent.
The BR has been implementing PBRL project at a cost of Tk 392.46 billion to establish totally new rail track from Dhaka to Jashore through the country's longest bridge for developing shorter rail communication with southwestern districts mainly with 2nd port of Mongla.
The expensive project has been implemented with Chinese government loan amounting to Tk 210.36 billion.
The fast track project was approved on January 01, 2016 targeting to complete by 30 June, 2024.
The loan agreement was signed on April 27, 2018 and physical work began on June 03, 2018. China railway group limited (CREC) was awarded the work with contract valued US $ 3.138 billion. The signing was, however, done on August 08, 2016.
The PBRL project was taken with a major target to run the train through rail-cum-road bridge on the first day of opening. But due to delayed start of construction, the BR could not launch the train operation on the inaugural day. The trail run took place 10 months after the inauguration of road part of the bridge on June 25.