KATHAMANDU: India has handed over two modern trains to Nepal that would run between Jaynagar in Bihar and Kurtha in Dhanusa district from mid-December, marking the beginning of the first broad-gauge railway service in the Himalayan nation, officials said on Saturday.
The Konkan Railway delivered two modern Diesel-Electric Multiple Unit (DMUC) trains to the Nepal Railway for Jaynagar-Kurtha broad gauge line on Friday.
These trains are manufactured by Integrated Coach Factory, Chennai with modern amenities and latest AC-AC propulsion technology.
The Indian technicians and the Nepal Railway staff were welcomed at various locations when the trains arrived in the country from India on Friday.
Thousands of people gathered to see the new trains despite the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 390 people and infected over 60,000 others in Nepal.
The train operations from Kurtha to Jaynagar, covering a distance of 35-km, will benefit citizens of both the countries, according to Indian Embassy sources.
The trial run of the new trains started from Friday on the broad gauge tracks whose construction was completed last year, according to Nepal Railway Company Director General Guru Bhattarai.
Since the border is unlikely to open soon due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the train services would not start immediately and the trains would be parked at the Nepal Railway Station in Jaynagar for the maintenance and safety, according to Senior Divisional Engineer Devendra Shah.
"The trains are expected to go into regular operation around the Ram-Janaki marriage ceremony in mid-December when the situation is likely to improve," said Nepal Railway Company Engineer Binod Ojha.
The Jaynagar-Kurtha rail line was originally built during the British Raj to transport logs from forests at Mahottari, Nepal to India.
At that time, the line from Jaynagar in Bihar to Bijulpura in Mahottari was 52 kms long.
The 69-km Jaynagar-Janakpur-Bardibas railway is being built at a cost of Rs10 billion with support from the Indian government.
According to the Nepali media reports, the railway track is being built in three phases.
The 35-km-long first section of the rail line links Jaynagar and Kurtha in Mahottari district.
The 17-km-long second section will link Kurtha and Bhangaha while the third phase is 17-km-long and will extend from Bhangaha to Bardibas.