Yes, you read that correct! Very soon, Indian and Bhutan will be possible on train wheels! The Railway Board has commissioned a survey to establish the Mujnai-Nyoenpaling line to provide a cross-border rail link between India and Bhutan.
Recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was in Bhutan for the Bhutan-India Start-up Summit 2020. As per reports, a team from Indian Railways will visit Bhutan and have a word with the State Mining Corporation in Bhutan. This meeting will be for finalising a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for export of railway ballast (gravel used to create the bed of a railway track) from Bhutan to India.
The reports also mention that both the countries have also talked about the designation and notification of new transit customs railway stations at Pandu, Jogighopa and Agartala. A discussion was also held for making customs station at Nagarkatta as a permanent customs station.
In addition to India-Bhutan, northeast India will also be linked to Bangladesh via the new Indian Railways line that might begin next year. A few days back, Union Minister Jitendra Singh told the media that the railway line that will connect northeast India to Bangladesh will be functional by the end of the year 2021.
According to Singh, once the construction of the train line between Agartala (Tripura) and Akhaura (Bangladesh) is done, the first train might run from northeast India to Bangladesh on India’s 75 Independence Day in 2022.
The ministry is all set to lay a 5.46 km long track on the Indian side. On the Bangladesh side, the cost of laying a 10.6 km track will be taken care by the External Affairs Ministry.