The first passenger train to run on broad gauge between India and Nepal is likely to run from December this year, sources in the railways have told agencies.
The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch.
An immigration check-post is likely to be established at Jayanagar station manned by either the Bureau of Immigration or the state government. No visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the border through this stretch, a source said.
The Nepalese authorities have informed the railways that the section will be opened with four trips and will ply in eight to 16-hour shifts.
While the first train is to be a passenger train, the Nepalese have stated that they want to run both passenger and freight trains on this section.
The ministry of external affairs has had several inter-ministerial meetings with the railways, the government of Nepal and other stakeholders on this. More meetings to finalise logistics are likely to take place.
The move is being seen as part of efforts to counter China’s plans to forge rail links with Nepal. After Beijing decided to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu, New Delhi proposed the construction of new railway links during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s recent visit to India.
Nepal and India have plans for four cross-border railway links, including one to link Raxaul to Kathmandu.
The sale of tickets, the source said, will be through an unreserved ticketing system and passenger reservation system in Nepal which will be facilitated by the railways.