Padma Bridge set to begin the end of Bangladesh Railway’s 'stone age'

Trains are expected to roll over ballastless slab tracks along the bridge on a test run after the completion of the work within a week

KM Raihan KabirShariatpur
Published : 10 March 2023, 07:24 PM
Updated : 10 March 2023, 07:24 PM

A contractor of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project expects the work to lay ballastless slab tracks, first in Bangladesh, along the structure within a week. 

Sanjay Chandra Roy, project inspection engineer at contractor Rail Link, said on Friday trains would start rolling over the tracks on a test run after the completion of the work. 

The higher cost of stoneless railway construction will be outweighed by benefits such as faster train speeds, comfortable journeys, and no maintenance costs, according to him. 

A 169-km railway line is being built from Dhaka to Jashore as part of the project, which includes a segment on the Padma Bridge. 

The railway line is divided into three sections: Dhaka to Mawa, Mawa to the Padma Bridge via Faridpur’s Bhanga, and Bhanga to Jashore. The Padma Bridge is situated in the section between Faridpur and Mawa. 

The length of the railway line, including viaducts on both ends of the bridge, is 13.3 kilometres. 

According to Sanjay, the work to set up the tracks on the 6.15 km Padma Bridge is almost finished, except for a 500-metre stretch in the middle of the structure. 

In addition to this, 6.15 km of the bridge, 4 km of the viaduct that connects the bridge to Jazira's Padma station, and 3.15 km of the railway from the bridge to Mawa station are still incomplete. 

Jahirul Haque, the engineer in charge of the work to set up the stoneless tracks, is hopeful that the trial run will begin in March. 

He said an iron cage was constructed on the spans of the bridge, with space for railway tracks in it. Each track is 25 metres long and contains 42 sleepers. The rail tracks and sleepers have been welded together and secured in place by using concrete. 

Trains in other countries around the world can travel on stoneless tracks at a speed between 300 and 400 km per hour. However, the maximum speed allowed for trains on the Padma Bridge is set at 120 km per hour, said Jahirul.