The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $1.5 billion to Bangladesh to build a dual-gauge railway line that will bring key trade and tourism to the southernmost parts of Bangladesh. The new railway, part of the Trans-Asia Railway network, will also improve access to Myanmar and beyond.
“The planned 102-kilometer stretch of railway will connect the tourist town of Cox’s Bazar with the existing Bangladash railway network,” said Markus Roesner, Principal Transport Specialist with ADB’s South Asia Department. “It will provide a key boost to local and regional tourism by providing both safe and environmentally friendly connectivity from Dhaka and Chittagong.”
Building the rail section and nine stations between Dohazari and Cox’s Bazar will cost a total of $2.012 billion, with the government providing $512 million in finance on top of the four-tranche ADB financing, and a further $1 million in technical assistance to help Bangladesh Railway with safeguards, safety awareness, and procurement. The stations will integrate design features that are friendly to the elderly, women, children, and people with disabilities. The government is itself rehabilitating the 47-kilometer rail section between Chittagong and Dohazari.
Demand is expected to be high from 2.2 million people living in the Cox’s Bazar district and to make travel easier, all train stations will have connections to other kinds of transport. The government is also keen to develop Cox’s Bazar as a tourism hub. Around 1.9 million tourists visit the beaches of Cox’s Bazar every year and with this expected to grow 5% annually, special tourist trains will operate between Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar along the new line.