Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday launched the first-ever non-stop intercity train service on Dhaka-Rajshahi route fulfilling the long-cherished demand of the people of Rajshahi, reports UNB.
She opened the non-stop train service, Bonolota Express, through videoconferencing from her official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka in the morning.
The 927-seat state of the art train started its maiden trip from Rajshahi to Dhaka around 11:10am.
With the introduction of the non-stop train service, passengers will now be able to travel to Rajshahi from Dhaka within 4.45 hours, more than one hour less than the current travel time.
The Bonolota Express is the third non-stop intercity train in the country as currently two such trains are plying on the Dhaka-Chattogram route.
The high-speed train with 12 coaches will be running on the 343-kilometre route without any stoppage between Dhaka and Rajshahi.
Currently, three intercity trains -- Silk City Express, Padma Express and Dhumketu Express -- are running daily on the Dhaka-Rajshahi route, having stoppages at 10 to 14 stations.
According to the regular schedule, the Bonolota Express will start from Rajshahi at 7:00am and reach Kamalapur Railway Station in Dhaka by 11:40am.
It will leave Dhaka at 1:15pm and reach Rajshahi at 6:00pm.
The train is equipped with modern facilities like bio-toilet, reclining chairs, Wi-Fi and mobile phone-recharging system for the passengers.
Bangladesh Railway procured 50 high-speed and modern coaches from Indonesia for new trains on different routes, including the Rajshahi-Dhaka one.
Railways minister Nurul Islam Sujan delivered the congratulatory speech joining the inaugural ceremony from Rajshahi railway station.
Rajshahi City Corporation mayor AHM Khairuzzman Liton and many other dignitaries also attended the function at the Rajshahi end.
Principal secretary Md Nojibur Rahman conducted the inauguration event at Ganabhaban, while railway secretary Md Mofazzel Hossain made a presentation over the non-stop train service as well as the activities and successes of Bangladesh Railway.