Bangladesh: PM Sheikh Hasina Unveils Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, Largest Project Build Under China’s BRI


Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday inaugurated the 82-kilometre railway track, connecting Dhaka to Bhanga, as part of the “Padma Bridge Railway Link Project.”

She opened the rail route unveiling a plaque by pressing a button at a civic rally at Mawa Railway Station in Munshiganj in the presence of PM’s younger sister Sheikh Rehana.

Padma Bridge Rail Link Project (PBRLP), is being implemented to build a 172-km rail line from Dhaka, the capital city, with the southwestern district of Jessore through Padma Bridge at a cost of Tk 39,247 crore.

It is being executed by Bangladesh Railway (BR) in collaboration with China Railway Group Limited (CREC), a Chinese construction company, and the Corps of Engineers of the Bangladesh Army acting as the construction supervision consultant.

The country’s largest infrastructure project built under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is estimated to cost Tk 39,246.80 crore, with the Exim Bank of China providing a loan of Tk 21,036.70 crore.

The government approved the project in March 2016, and it was supposed to be completed within June 2022.

But physical works commenced only in July 2018, mainly due to the delay in signing of the loan contract with Chinese Exim Bank.

Padma Bridge

The railway link will pass through the 6.15-km-long Padma Bridge about 40 km southwest of Dhaka.

Padma Bridge
Padma Bridge

The double-decker steel truss bridge incorporates a four-lane highway on an upper level along with a single-track railway on the lower level and was inaugurated on 26 June last year by Premier Hasina.

Touted as the country’s longest bridge, the multipurpose project has been constructed at a cost of USD 3.6 billion entirely built with domestic funding.

The history of crossing the Padma River between dozens of districts in southern Bangladesh and the capital of Dhaka only by ferries or boats ended as the bridge opened to traffic.


The opening of the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga rail route marks the successful completion of the first phase of the Dhaka-Jessore rail route.

The remaining portion of the project linking Jessore is expected to be launched in June of next year, the Dhaka Tribune reported, quoting project officials.

Once the rail link becomes fully operational, it will shorten the travel time from Dhaka to Jessore from the original 10 hours to two hours, thereby making a major boost to the country’s railway connectivity.

The rail link will contribute significantly to the country’s economy, as more than 20 districts in the south will be connected with Dhaka.

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen, who attended the inaugural ceremony, said the Padma Bridge Rail Link is a landmark project under the BRI, and also the largest infrastructure project in Bangladesh using Chinese preferential loans.

As one of the most important infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, it is estimated to directly benefit 80 million people and boost economic growth by 1.5 per cent, he claimed.