«The United Kingdom was, with its British Empire the biggest colonial power in history. It comprised Crown colonies, protectorates, mandated ...»
ASSAM BENGAL RAILWAY & CO. The railway in Bangladesh. (10 days)
The United Kingdom was, with its British Empire the biggest colonial power in history. It comprised Crown colonies,
protectorates, mandated territories and other dependent areas which stood under the rule of the United Kingdom and had
arisen from the British overseas areas and trading posts. The British Empire was called, like already before the Spanish Colonial
Empire, “an empire where the sun never sets“. From it arose widespread political, juridical, linguistic and cultural heritage which has had a lasting effect, till this day, in many parts of the world. We will follow one of the most striking track this time, the railway and technology. A railroad network in the delta area of Bangladesh was not thought to be possible until 1884. In 1885 the Assam Bengal Railway was founded and overcame these almost insoluble problems. Railway bridges, in the form of steel grid construction, are the last witness from this time. The Bangladesh Railway is a direct “descendant” of the Assam Bengal Railway and the Eastern Bengal Railway Company, which laid the first meters of track in what was then British India.
The National Railway of Bangladesh operates and maintains the railway network in the country and is controlled by the Executive Board of the Ministry of Railways. The route network includes approximately 2,855 km total distance of which 660 km broad gauge (1,676 mm), mostly in the west and 1,830 km narrow gauge in central and eastern Bangladesh. 365 km of the route have both gauges (at constant extension). The bridge over the Jamuna since 1998 combines the formerly autonomous route networks in the east and west of the country. In March 2008 reached the broad gauge Dhaka. A brief
outline of the story:
By the year 1862, the first 53 km broad gauge and by 1885 the first 15 km meter gauge were installed. In 1891, the construction of then Bengal Assam Railway was taken up by the British Government assistance but that was later on taken over by the Bengal Assam Railway Company. 1895, there are more than 200 km meter gauge. With the creation of Pakistan in 1947 Eastern Bengal Railway is cleaved by theIndian Railways. 2,604 km rails are now under control of the government of the newly created country of Pakistan. In 1961 the name was changed to Pakistan Eastern Railway. 1971, with the end of the Bangladesh war and following independence, the company is renamed to Bangladesh Railway.
We follow various track sections of the railway, stop many times to look and observe, visit various workshops, railway junctions, stations, signal boxes and of course the old railway bridges, in the form of steel grid constructions. The former headquarters and main railway station of the Eastern Bengal Railway, Chittagong, for example, we find almost unchanged. We will of course be some kilometers by rail road. In addition, also by our coach. Still operating steam locomotives unfortunately we cannot offer, but the oldest operating diesel locomotives in the world and a view of a paddle steamer, a ship with the style and flair of a colonial steamer and a true original. We are talking about one of the almost legendary “Rocket” built sometime between 1912 and 1938, in the shipyards of Calcutta and Scotland. Apart from replacement of the engine (steam vs. Diesel) about 15 years ago, are they still in original condition.
The clichés of Bangladesh are surely: Sewing room and poorhouse of the world, crowds of people, hunger, environmental problems and natural disasters, bad infrastructure and means of transportation, political riots, corruption, exploitation etc. But that’s a relatively typical phenomenon of the Third World, however, this country is more, much more! Bangladesh is bulging with life, contrasts, variety and love, a lot of love… Sometimes it seems the time has stopped and sometimes it's unbelievably modern. The faces of Bangladesh are varied. You will visit not only the countryside but you will experience the bulging, colorful life that (often enough) happens on the street. Everywhere you still find traditional agriculture and fishing, in the towns craft and trade are still as public as at the times the British ruled the country. There are an immense number of impressions and experiences which wait you and no National Geographic report or foreign travel program on television can substitute this!
Bangladesh and tourism are quite different cups of tea and this might be one of the last countries which would occur to you as a travel destination. Tourism is not established; therefore our small travel group will be eyed by locals full of curiosity. This trip is intended for everybody who would like to get to know an original and amusing country, without prejudices and with an open heart. For anybody who would like to escape from the euro crisis, rescue funds, meat scandals and energy turnarounds. To experience very closely what real problems are and what real love and luck means… Because you take part in a trip far away from the standard-tourist paths, Bangladesh will pay you with unaffordable impressions, experiences and memories!
The confirmation of the tour takes place as soon as possible. Please register early. A cancellation of the tour due to failure to achieve the number of participants is carried at least 1 month before scheduled arrival date. We start the tour on day 1 at 10:00 AM from the airport. Arrivals / hotel transfers on the previous day is an additional charge possible. This tour will take place regularly. The dates and all other organizational details, see the separate price list for this document.
Highlights Railway and technology. During the tour visits to railway stations, bridges, signaling and interlocking systems. We will have many stops for Line Watching too.
Behind the scenes of Dhaka Kamlapur (Central Station). Including workshops and turntable.
(Signal) workshops in Lalmonirhat and Saidpur.
Guided tour of the Central Locomotive Workshop (Kendio Locomotive Karkhana, KELOKA) in Parbatipur and visit the first (steam) Locomotive of the country.
Visit to the Ishwardi railway junction and the Hardinge Bridge.
One of the longest in the world: The Jamuna Bridge.
Brahmanbaria railway junction and Bhairab Bazar Bhairab Bridge.
Railway trip to Chittagong. Visit the old train station and the railway workshop.
Boat tour around the ship breaking yards of Chittagong.
Patenga Sea Beach (Bay of Bengal) and the railhead Dohazari.
General Without a pioneering spirit and realising the organizational challenge like Bangladesh it will also require from you improvisations, without this you should not get involved in this tour. We are not responsible for risks or accidents of any kind. We give our best but disadvantages from delays, strikes etc. means we also always have a plan B in the back pocket, but, at last, you can take part in the tour only at your own risk.
We travel in an Islamic country; however, an extremely tolerant Islamic tradition is lived in Bangladesh. Practically nothing is taken amiss of foreigners (and non-Muslims). Anyway, you should follow “good manners” rules which contain respect and decency, then you will have no problems with the foreign culture and be treated as deferentially. The left hand is regarded as impure; because this is used in Muslim countries for body hygiene. Before the entrance of flats and above all mosques the shoes are taken off. Nudism and "topless" is a taboo, public display of affection should be limited.
We will be traveling around a very poor country. Alms and help to the destitute are an implicit part of Islamic culture. Begging belongs to the everyday life and very often provide the basic care for old people and the destitute. Foreigners are an attraction in Bangladesh and have not yet been discovered as a "source of income". Begging here is passive and reserved. You should always hold ready a small stock in coins and small Taka notes (2, maximum 5 Taka) as alms for the old and disabled.
Foreign travellers are treated everywhere politely, deferentially and decently. The least punishment for drug possession amounts to 2 years in prison; with large amounts capital punishment can be used. There are alcoholic beverages for foreigners in a few government stores and in the minibars of the big international hotels. As non-Muslim travelers you may import two bottles of wine or whisky for personal use. Food, including pork, for personal use may be imported. Accident and environment protection are marginally developed. The traffic follows no real rules, outside the coach everybody is responsible for oneself.
You have to keep open your eyes and ears and sometimes to take your own decisions. We take many for you, but we don't want to supervise every step you take and can't escort everyone across the road to the opposite market.
Visa There is no need for a visa before the tour. You receive a "Visa on Arrival" at Dhaka airport after your arrival. You need only a valid passport and 50.00$ (US) or the equivalent in Euro. You will receive a tourist visa with a duration of max. 30 days. Further information about it after your travel registration.
Weather From October to February when the weather is dry and fresh and the best time for a visit. Cyclones prefer March/April and October. At the beginning of February there are perfect conditions. In the north and in the Ganges delta it could be fresh during the night and morning hours. The day temperatures are around 28°C, at night around 15°C and it remains dry. At March it's distinctly warmer, the day temperatures are around 32°C and at night don't fall lower than 19°C and a very low likelihood of rain. From May till the end of September it's very muggy and 34°C hot. Strong downpour from time to time with rising trend means rainy season! Night temperatures hardly sink below 25°C. At October are good conditions. The day temperature is around 30°C, at night 20°C with falling trend, but it's dry.
Accommodations Hotels are middle class and relatively clean, equipped with fan, shower, European WC and mosquito nets. Bungalow settlements are apart from the tumult and to be recommend, their equipment is also middle class. Cabins on the riverboat are relatively big and have double or 2 single beds, air-conditioning, partial own use of shower and WC and are equipped as a small hotel room.
Transports Our coach conforms substantially to European standards and has comfortable seats and air-conditioning. Even if we are on the move with other means of transportation, the coach will transport the luggage. We travel of course in the best available class on the ships and in the train. The ships and ferries have lifebelts etc. but are not equipped to European technical standards. On the riverboats you can freely move about all decks. The trains are very comfortable. Fans always exist, partial air-conditioning.
Every carriage has its own steward. The toilets in the train do not correspond to European standards. You can also move in the train freely.
Electricity/Cellphone/Internet The power supply is 220 V AC; plug adaptors are not usually necessary but will be required for UK 13A plugs. Interruptions in the electricity supply are normal. Hotels and Resorts have their own standby generators (no air-conditioning support). The cellphone network is developed very well. Internet service is available in some hotels and all towns offer a number of internet shops.
Catering To feel fine on the trip, you should follow certain things; you cook it, you peel it, or you leave it. Tap water is not suitable for drinking; you should strictly reject ice cubes in drinks, because you do not know the quality of the water used. Rice is omnipresent, it’s cooked and served with a variety of vegetables as well as with curry fish, beef, mutton, and above all, chicken.
The use of the most varied spices is essential in the cooking tradition of the country. We will prefer mainly the traditional cuisine.
Breakfast will be eaten mostly in the hotel, during the day we have snacks and fruits and in the evening a bigger dinner.
Health Let us assume that you have already had tropical experience. There are things that one simply doesn't do like drink non-bottled water, swim in any ponds or rivers etc. The beauty of the Anopheles mosquito is her small body and ability to bite without being seen, some can transfer tropical diseases like malaria. Our hotels provide mosquito nets and we recommend using them, as well as long clothes for the evening hours and mosquito protection on the skin. We recommend protective inoculations against hepatitis, rabies and typhoid. We recommend a standby Malaria drug like Malarone. However, this does not constitute advice in the medical sense.
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