The Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit locomotives (trains) service on the Dhaka-Narayanganj route will be launched on April 24.
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, is scheduled to inaugurate DEMU service, Bangladesh Railway officials have said. According to a preparatory meeting, held at the Rail Bhaban in the city and chaired by the railway minister Mohammad Mazibul Hoque, the prime minister would inaugurate two-set DEMU trains from Kamalapur rail station for the first time in Bangladesh.
Though the Bangladesh railway was scheduled to launch these 300-passenger capacity metre-gauge trains in the first week of March, the inauguration was rescheduled because of the country’s present political situation, say BR officials.
With its two engines at both end, and one compartment in the middle, the DEMU train is good for short-haul travels as these two engines, capable of moving either way, would save time and would be able to maintain schedules.
Earlier the authorities had a plan to attach three compartments to each set.
Each DEMU train, which costs Tk 20 crore, would provide comfortable space for 300 passengers — 149 seating and 151 standing passengers.
BR director (traffic) Zahirul Islam told New Age on Thursday that there would also be seating arrangement in the two-engine coaches.
He said two sets of DEMU trains reached Chittagong port on February 23 while one of them was put on trial on the Chittagong-Comilla route on March 16.
‘By April, six more sets of these trains would reach Chittagong and by June all 20 sets would reach Bangladesh,’ he added.
A DEMU train, having 460 horsepower engine, has a life span of 30 years and these are more nimble energy-efficient than locomotive-hauled trains.
Like the locomotives, its maximum speed is 80 kilometres per hour, said officials.
China’s Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company Limited won the bid for supplying the trains.
Another railway officer, seeking anonymity, said though the authorities earlier targeted March for launching these trains, more time would be needed to put DEMU trains in service owing to political unrest.
Earlier the railways minister told New Age that the DEMU trains would make railway communications between Dhaka and its adjacent areas much easier and cheaper.
The BR plans to run these trains initially on seven eastern and three western zone routes, the officials said.
The proposed eastern zone routes are Dhaka-Narayanganj, Dhaka-Bhairab, Dhaka-Joydevpur, Chittagong-Dohajari, Chittagong-Laksam, Laksam-Noakhali and Laksam-Chandpur.
And the three proposed western zone routes are Lalmonirhat-Burimari, Lalmonirhat-Dinajpur and Lalmonirhat-Bogra.
Diesel-Electric Multiple Unit, in short DEMU, is equipped with a diesel engine that drives a generator to produce electricity to drive traction motors in a fashion similar to diesel-electric locomotive.
-With New Age input