The Maitree Express (Hindi: मैत्री एक्सप्रेस), or Moitree Express (Bengali: মৈত্রী এক্সপ্রেস), is the name of international passenger train servies connecting Bangladesh to the Indian state of West Bengal. The name Maitree Express means the Friendship Express, denoting the significance of the train service to the foreign relations between India and Bangladesh. Train services between the two countries existed before the partition of India – the Maitree Express re-established this connection between the Bangladeshi capitals of Dhaka with Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, in 2008 after being closed for 43 years. In 2017, a second train (the Maitree Express-II) was inaugurated connecting Kolkata with the Bangladeshi city of Khulna, recreating the previous Barisal Express route.
The Partition of India in 1947 disrupted rail links in the region of Bengal, which was divided into the Indian state of West Bengal (পশ্চিমবঙ্গ) and the Pakistani province of East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan in 1956). During British rule over the undivided land, regular over-night trains connected Kolkata, Goalanda, Dhaka and Narayanganj. In addition pre-partition, Darjeeling Mail connecting Kolkata (Sealdah Station) with Siliguri ran through what became East Pakistan via Gede-Darshana and Chilahati-Haldibari. Three train services from Sealdah—East Bengal Mail to Parbatipur Junction via Gede-Darshana, East Bengal Express to Goalundo Ghat via Gede-Darshana, and the Barisal Express to Khulna via Benapole-Petrapole—continued operation between the two countries until 1965, when the outbreak of the Indo-Pakistani Conflict of 1965 led to the closure of all passenger train links. The Bangladesh war of Independence in 1971 resulted in the independence of East Pakistan as the nation-state of Bangladesh. The Maitree Express follows the same route as the first two trains above via Gede-Darshana.
In 2001, the two national governments agreed upon the railway train scheme during bilateral talks. The train service concept got a major boost during the visit of the then Indian Foreign Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, to Dhaka in February 2007. On July 8 2007 the first train ran from Kolkata to Dhaka in a test run, carrying Indian government officials who were to meet their Bangladeshi counterparts to finalize train schedules. In response to Indian security demands, a "box-fencing" system was to be erected on either side on the no-man's land between the two countries. The inauguration of the train service was held on the occasion of the Bengali New Year (Bengali: পয়লা বৈশাখ) April 14, 2008.
The Maitree Express is the only train which runs between Kolkata and Dhaka. It runs six days a week from each side. The train travels around 375 kilometers to reach Dhaka from Kolkata. There are two stops for immigration checking; one is Gede (Indian side) and the other is Dorshona (Bangladesh side). It around 10–11 hours to takes cover the entire stretch. Since the Bangladesh side is non-electrified, the entire stretch is covered by broad-gauge diesel locomotives. There is a change of crew and locos at Dorshona in Bangladesh. There are two major river crossings–the Hardinge Bridge over the lower Ganges and the Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge over the Jamuna River, both in Bangladesh.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Device/Camera: Sony HDR CX900e