The Bangladesh Railway (BR) has taken an initiative to invite large-scale investment for upgrading its existing bridges, tracks and rolling stock workshops.
The BR comes up with this move as part of its efforts to develop a regional corridor under the Trans-Asia Railway network through taking up necessary projects in the future, officials said.
To this end, a technical project has already been taken up to conduct a study and carry necessary groundwork for the development and upgrade of tracks and stations in some parts of the corridor, they said.
With the technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank, the BR has taken up the Tk 2.56 billion project titled 'Technical Assistance for Railway Connectivity Improvement Preparatory Facility', under which a study would be conducted on a total of 10 projects.
Under the project, the BR will study ways to replace old bridges and improve the rolling stock maintenance capacity. It will also explore ways to build a parallel bridge next to the Hardinge Bridge.
"The initiative was taken to improve the railway connectivity not only within the country but also with neighbouring countries," said an official.
The study and preparatory groundwork will help BR take up future investment projects without delay, he added.
The BR has taken the move in a fashion similar to the way the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has conducted a feasibility study on its projects designed to turn more than 1700 km national highways into four-lane ones and prepare detailed designs and tender documents to invite investment.
BR officials said the study will assess the need for future rolling stocks and suggest measures for maintaining them.
Besides, the study will estimate the investment to be required to improve the service for passengers in important railway stations and also work out a plan for future businesses using the railway's land.
According to the technical project information, a feasibility study will be conducted on the construction of a broad gauge line in Rohonpur/Amnura, and construction of dual gauge lines on Abdulpur-Rajshahi, Bhairab Bazar-Mymensingh, Akhaura-Sylhet, Jashore-Benapol, and Tarakandi routes.
As per its master plan approved last year, the BR would implement a more than Tk 5.0 trillion investment plan until 2045.