Bangladesh Railway on Sunday successfully completed the trial run of a demu train using local technology for the third time.
A loaded demu train was operated from Parbatipur to Panchagarh with a speed of 72km per hour. The train can be added to the rail fleet anytime upon instruction of the railway officials.
Chinese technology use could have cost Tk600 crore while local engineers said that it would cost only Tk100 crore to repair 20 sets of diesel electric multiple unit (demu) trains which were imported from China.
"As per our assessment, it would require Tk600 crore to make the 20 demu trains functional by using Chinese technology whereas local technology will cost only Tk100 crore. If we get the fund, we can make all the 20 demu operational within the next three months," demu train expert and former official of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission Engineer Asaduzzaman said.
Engineer Asaduzzaman researched for one and a half years and then worked for 72 days on a train to make it functional, replacing the Chinese technology with support of Parbatipur Loco Workshop Engineer Azim Biswash and the employees of the same.
"We have worked only 72 days and now we are successful. Trial run has been completed several times and the load, speed and operation are alright," he said.
Demu train locomaster Mashiur Rahman and assistant locomaster Nuruzzaman said that they were facing no problem in driving the train which has been repaired with local technology. The required train speed is alright which is 72km per hour.
Parbotipur Loco Yard In-Charge Kafi-ul Islam said that demu trains are lying idle in various parts of the country including Dhaka and Chattogram. There are two sets of demu trains at the Parbatipur locoyard shed which were sent here on 24 March last year. The engineers started working on 2 April the same year, he added.
"This train has completed 29 trial runs so far. It was operated 27 times without passenger load and two times with passengers on the Panchagarh-Lalmonirhat route," said Kafi-ul Islam.
The demu trains were manufactured by Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co Ltd of China and Daniel Technical Research Institute to operate on short-haul routes. There are two engines on two sides with a seat capacity of 300 passengers in the middle.
Railway sources said that the government imported 20 sets of demu trains from China in 2013 spending Tk645 crore. These were operated with a special kind of software. Although there was warranty of 20 years, it started becoming dysfunctional after only four or five years ultimately leading to all the 20 demu trains off-limits to passengers.
Parbatipur Loco Yard official Engineer Rafiqul Islam said that the Chinese demu trains were operated through a special type of module.
"Now we are trying to operate it with easier technology. The rest of the 19 trains will be brought under the same process gradually," he said.