Railway in Nepal initiated during rule of British regime in India to carry timber from forests. The old and famous narrow gauge Jayanagar-Janakpur railway is being upgraded to the broad gauge and also being extended to Bardibas. India lately agreed to give train transit from Vishakhapatnam port to Nepal. East-West railway from Kakkadvitta to Mahendranagar project is also under construction with many obstacles. Last year China said that the they are planning to help extend their train from Tibet to Kathmandu. Suresh Prabhu’s new rail budget 2016 of India has separated Rs 54 lakh IC to study Barauni-Kathmandu railway project.
There are already many proposed projects in Nepal and many are from Indian Government. The Jaynagar-Janakpur rail upgrade is being done by help of India and the RITES Limited did a study on many possible tracks. These points include nearest Indian railway station from Nepal which are NJP to Kakkadvitta, Jogbani – Biratnagar. The new proposed route from Barauni to Kathmandu is 360 KM long and this will shorten the distance, remove trade problem. Further it will be very good when track from Tibet comes to Kathmandu as it will be hub for both countries in terms of trade or tourism.
Experts believe that the completion of Nepal East- West railway, it will help our country connect to SAARC cluster and when the India-Nepal-China rail track is completed, Nepal will be in the China’s Silk trade route. It can be a million possibilities but it all depends on the political situation. In long run train is the cheapest means of transportation after the early expensive investment on infrastructure. Both neighbors are very strong on this transportation system, India has world’s biggest network and is biggest source of revenue as well while China is ahead in high class, super speed trains in rugged areas like Lhasa.
Many experts argue that this might grow our dependency on India further. Some said that it is great that they are providing us electricity in-spite of having shortage within their own country. This proposed transmission of 600 MW power should be taken as a loan until Nepal builds all required hydro-power projects. Trade deficit is already higher China, India and Bangladesh. Another way of looking is that cheaper transportation can help in growth of export as well.
The Mechi-Mahakali electrical train project is under construction but in a very slow pace but it is supposed to be national backbone for transportation. As we are just starting to develop infrastructure on this means we can learn from both neighboring countries which are expert in matter of railway because of long experience.
Currently Birgunj dry port is the only place in Nepal which is connected with broad gauge railway from India and it is only used for freight shipment. Mahaparinirvan Express is a luxury train service from IRCTC that brings Buddhist pilgrims to Nepal during their circuit route. All these projects are far from completion and will take a bout a decade to be true. In future railway engineering also shows a great promising future if it is taken in far sighted development strategy.