Passenger railway services between India and Bangladesh got a boost with the inauguration of the Bandhan Express, which will travel between Kolkata (West Bengal, India) and Khulna (Bangladesh) every Thursday.
The inaugural run took place on Nov 9 with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee jointly flagged off the train through video conferencing. Regular service is scheduled to start from November 16, 2017.
The Bandhan Express will cover a distance of 172 km one way -- 77 km in India and 95 km in Bangladesh. The train will travel via the Petrapole-Benapole route. It will leave Kolkata station every Thursday at 7.10am and reach Khulna at noon, same day. It will start on the return leg from Khulna at 1.20pm same day and reach Kolkata at 6.10 pm same evening.
With the opening of the International Passenger Terminal at the Kolkata railway station, passengers will be able to complete their immigration checks here for the Indian part. In Bangladesh, the checks will be done at Benapole for the Bandhan Express.
The other train running between India and Bangladesh is the Maitree Express, since 2008. It runs six days a week between Kolkata and the capital city of Bangladesh - Dhaka. Earlier, passengers aboard the Maitree Express had to go through immigration and customs checks at Gede (last railway station on the Indian side) and Darshona (Bangladesh). Now, according to latest reports, the immigration checks will be held at the newly opened international terminal at Kolkata station and not at Gede. Passengers travelling from Kolkata to Dhaka by the Maitree Express have been instructed by the Eastern Railway to arrive at the International Passengers' Railway Terminal at the Kolkata station by 5.10am. The scheduled departure of the train is at 7.10am.