Special Correspondent back from Parbatipur (Dinajpur)
After a long period of inactivity, the engineers of Bangladesh Railways ( BR) have become success to activate Demo ( Diesel-electric multiple Unit) trains using low-cost indigenous technology after impoted it from China in 2013 .
The Chinese company kept its technology secret for repair due to business interest but finally BR inaugurated it for commercial operation after trials.
Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan MP inaugurated this special train service for commercial movement on Parbatipur-Rangpur route at the traditional Parbatipur Railway Station in Dinajpur on Sunday.
Mostafizur Rahman MP, President of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Primary and Mass Education and Manjur -Ul – Alam Chowdhury, Additional Director General (RS) of Bangladesh Railway addressed the inaugural function as special guests.
Among others, Chief Executive of Locomotive Factory Rafiqul Islam, Parbatipur Upazila Chairman Alhaj¦ Md Hafizul Islam Pramanik, Parbatipur Upazila Awami League General Secretary Md Amjad Hossain, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Bariul Karim Khan and Additional Superintendent of Police Mominul Karim also spoke.
In the chief guest’s speech, the Railway Minister said that the present Prime Minister is railway-friendly. Se wants development of railways. Se also said that the fare of the railway is very low, but the proposal to increase the fare was rejected by the Prime Minister thinking of the people.
The Minister also said that although 20 sets of Demo trains were imported in 2013, the concerned company kept the repair technology secret and later demanded more money than the purchase -price for repairs.
In the speech of the special guest, Bangladesh Railways Additional Director General (RS) Manjr- Ul -Alam Chowdhury said, the initiative to activate or repair these Demos have become possible due to sincere direct cooperation and approval of Minister of Railways and the engineers of Parbatipur workshop worked day and night to operate the Demos using indigenous technology at a very low cost.
He thanked former expert Engineer Asaduzzaman of Atomic Energy Commission for playing a special role in this matter and introduced him to everyone during his speech.
Mr Monju also said that it is still possible to run very old engines imported from Canada and other countries in 1953 due to the skill of the engineers of various railway workshops .
Manjur -Ul – Alam Chowdhury, who played a key role in running this Demo, further said, if the country wants to improve, technology must first be developed and the more technology is practiced in the railways, the more progress will be made.
He sincerely thanked all those who played vital role in running the dormant Demo and directed them to be active in this regard.
According to Bangladesh Railway sources, Demo is very popular as a suburban train worldwide. Trains mainly carry commuters from big cities to nearby cities.
Out of 20 sets of Demos imported in 2013, 14 are under repair and 6 are operational.
According to railway sources, Bangladesh Railway is a hundred years old transport company, whose journey started in this country in 1862. Since then, Bangladesh Railway has been maintaining locomotives, carriages and wagons at its own facilities. There is no precedent for any railing stock to be completely inactive in such a short period of time.
For this reason, Bangladesh Railways took the initiative to see if Demos can be re-commissioned with locally available parts instead of complex nature, high cost and scarce parts using fully indigenous technology.
As part of this, overhauling of 8 sets of Demo engines at the locomotive factory is done with the help of indigenous technology and experienced engineers and technicians.
Of these, set demos operate on the Chittagong-Dohajari and Chittagong-Nazirhat routes. Two sets of Demo operate on the Dhaka-Narayanganj route. However, the trains on this route were stopped for the time being due to long shutdown during Corona period . Initiatives have been taken to run Demo trains on this route again.
Bangladesh Railway hopes to run 3 to 4 more Demo trains in short- term by December January and 5 demo trains by June 2023 and all demo trains by December 2023.
However, for long-term Demo maintenance, Bangladesh Railway locomotive factories need to build some facilities for Demo maintenance and install some equipment, and if skilled manpower and budget are increased, Bangladesh Railway will play a very important role in short-distance passenger transport for the next 20 years.