The Kolkata Khulna Bandhan Express is a new passenger train connecting Bangladesh and West Bengal. The train was flagged off today by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina via video conferencing. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was also present for the inauguration of the train. This is the second train connecting the two countries. The Maitree Express was the first train connecting the two countries from Dhaka to Kolkata.

The Express was named Bandhan (bond) to show the growing friendly relations between India and Bangladesh. As PM Modi flagged off the train service he said, “I believe that relations between leaders of neighboring countries should be like neighbors. We should not be in restrictions of protocols for visits or talks.”

Today was just the inaugural run but the Express will begin commercial service on the 16th of November. The train is fully air conditioned and scheduled to run every Thursday. The travel time is four and a half hours covering a distance of 172 Km.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her joy, “Today is a great day for relations between the two countries with the inauguration of the train services and the two bridges. This train service is a dream come true for people on both sides of the border.”

The two Governments also plan to launch another train to connect Rajshahi in Bangladesh to Kolkata.