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Possibilities and Challenges of Railway

in Nepal
Subash Gupta ,, +977-9864421175,Sunil Sapkota ,,+977-9845822337,
Saroj Kumar Sharma,,+977-9848011970,SagarAcharya,,+977-

Tribhuwan University, I.O.E , Western Regional Campus, Department Of Civil Engineering, Lamachaur, Pokhara

Abstract: After the decades of conflict and political network of the country is 80,078 km. Out of 77 district,
transition , Nepal is going to embark on an only 67 district head quarter’s roads are linked with all-
accelerated economic growth for which transport weather roads. Another way of transportation is airways.
development has been recognized as one of the core The country has 1 international airport and 56 domestic
strategies with an objective of providing some valuable airports. But, airway hasn’t developed completely due to
insights to the policy makers, this paper adopts a difficult locations of destiny. Over the next five years, the
broad brush approach to review the past efforts ,identify government hopes to mobilize US$ 8.2 billion for road
current challenges and opportunity and finally list out infrastructure, rail connectivity, and transport sector
important strategies that would guide Nepal’s transport management. Nepal must promote itself as a profitable
development towards sustainable ends. Most importantly, transit destination for goods coming from India,
the paper highlights some of the agenda which can connecting India and China. Due to the trade
potentially serve as the coroner stones for sustainable between India and China, this could attract as much as
transport system but not yet properly discussed at the US$ 70.25 billion per year of business through Nepal. So,
policy making level. It is expected that the contents of this for the benefits of Nepal, the transportation of country
paper would serve as a useful reference for the must be developed. The other means of transportation is
transport policy maker in Nepal. The study addresses the Railways. The railway line of Nepal has the total length of
factors that determines station location, attributes that 57 km out of which only 5 km is currently operating. If the
enhance rail use through passenger satisfaction. government can develop the railway in Nepal, then
it won’t take time for this small country to be developed.
For a landlocked country like Nepal, a rail network
because of its low cost of operation should be of prime
Keywords: Possibility and challenges of railway in Nepal,
importance, both for domestic and international routes. In
Case study , Pokhara monorail, Vision
these present days, the present urban transport system is
not appropriable inefficient and environmentally
unfriendly. Kathmandu valley, that includes the capital
city as well as other emerging cities, has a population of
about 4 million and even more commuters
I. Introduction
and Kathmandu desperately needs to develop sustainable
Being a mountainous and economical weak mass transit systems to address the needs for increased
country railway transportation is a great challenge mobility and to reduce fuel dependence for which Railway
in Nepal. Although being mountainous and rigid is one of the projects is also been planned. The Raxaul-
Switzerland has railways even in higher regions. There is Amlekhagunj of length 39 kilometres and Jayanagar-
great possibility along with challenges of railway in Janakpur-Bijalpura, two short distance 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)
Nepal. There is no infrastructure for railway engineering narrow gauge railways were built by British in 1927.
resulting no skilled manpower in country. The total road Currently, Nepal Railway Company is dedicated to
constructing 53 kilometers of railway track — 32 km
from Jaynagar in India to Janakpur in Nepal and 21 km
from Janakpur to Bijalapur.

III. Challenges of Railway in Nepal

II. History of Nepal Railway Corporation
Nepal is economically weak country due to
The Nepal Railways Corporation Ltd. is the which budget allocation for railway is difficult. Due to
corporation which is owned by the Nepalese internal and external political interference the government
Government which maintains and operates two railway is unable to give proper reasonable decision in time. Here
lines which are Raxaul-Sirsiya line and the Jainagar- is no infrastructure for study of railway engineering , no
Janakpur line. The line from Raxaul in India to Sirsiya is trainers and no workshop. Nepal is dependent on foreign
6KM in length which acts as Dry Port near Birganj in countries for budget , it couldn't construct project of
Nepal which is primarily used for freight transport. And, it's own. Government doesn't give more emphasis for
the line from Jaynagar in India to Janakpur in Nepal is 5 railway rather than other transport system. Nepal has more
Km in length which is primarily used for pass//get than 85% hilly and mountainous region such topography
transport. During the Rana regime, the Raxaul- isn't suitable for railway. There is no big construction
Amlekhagunj section of Nepal Government Railway industries which can complete the project solely.
was introduced in Nepal. It was built as a 2 ft 6 in narrow Landslide is a common disaster to be faced in Kerung
gauge railway. In 1927, 9 KM long railway was built by which cvonnects Nepal with China. Retail competition is
British which allowed people from different areas of the limited by the structure of franchised passenger services,
country to reach Amlekhganj and to get Lorries to through which the governments in Nepal choose to
Bhimphedi and from Bhimphedi, people have to reach procure a socially-desirable level of train services which
Kathmandu on foot. The railway was later closed down. In the market would not necessarily provide. Franchisees are
1998, two ZDM-5 diesel locomotives were donated by regulated through contracts by the Department for
Indian Railway to Nepal Railways. In 2004, the Kolkata – Transport acting as wholesale procurers of rail services.
Raxaul – Sirsiya broad gauge line started operations as an Corruption is a great problem in Nepal which affects the
Inland Port. Also, The Jayanagar-Janakpur Line was built developmental works like as railway constructions Every
as 2 ft 6 in narrow gauge railway which was year terrain Nepal suffers from heavy floods due to which
also introduced during the Rana period. The Jayanagar- the proposed fields for the railway track will get damaged
Janakpur-Bijalpura line is under the gauge conversion to .Similarly , Nepal falls on 11th danger zone of earthquake
1,676 mm with an extension to Bardibas in the current so that the tunnels and high stations bridge specially in
days. By the Indian railways, the length of 1676 Km with mountainous region may collapse .
1,000 mm meter gauge railway track from Raxaul was
converted to 1,676 mm for the connection to Sirsiya
Birgunj. In the year 2005, the railway fully came in
operation. Until 2014, the Nepal Railway lines used 1,676
mm (5 ft 6 in) gauge lines until 2014. But in the year 2014, IV. Vision
the Nepal Railway was closed down so that the Nepal
Railway Corporation could upgrade the track by the The overall goal of the railway sector is the
financial aid of Indian railways. construction and expansion of a safe, reliable and demand
responsive rail service to the people connecting
international world and the operation and management in
timely and appropriate way for making world class service
to grow in aggregate of social, economic development.
A. First Railway in Nepal This vision should be gained with low cost and with
efficient development, expansion and management of
The first railway in Nepal was the Nepal Government railway infrastructures. The country’s overall (socio-
Railway. It was established in The railway linked economic) development including greater access and
Amlekhganj with Raxaul across the border in India in the growth to sustainable development and the proper
south. The railway was 47 km long with 2 ft 6 in narrow management of the railway service is the vision of the
gauge. In 1923, A short narrow gauge railway was built by railway sector Proceeding with the construction,
J. V. Collier of Indian Forest Service for the transportation expansion and management of railway network, providing
of Nepalese timber to India. Rana Prime minister sustainable and capableservice, connecting East-West and
assigned Collier to manage the forest department in Nepal. an important industrial, commercial, tourist towns into
To construct the light railway from the north border to national railway networks and connecting with railway
Amlekhgani, Martin and Co. of Kolkata conducted the service through possible boarders of Indian and Chinese
survey in 1924. (Tibet), to provide the facility by railway service in
international business including agriculture, tourism,
water resources, industry, trade and natural resource
development and to increase the service is the vision of the
development of railway network. The main goal of
the development and expansion of rail service is to
contribute to improve people’s daily living by travelling
people and transportation goods but means of Cheap,
reliable, safe, efficient rail service

V. Possibilities

For the developing and mountainous countries

like Nepal transportation has been the key factor for the
enhancement of the nation so that the transportation factor
should be developed in a rapid way. For this water
transportation is easiest and the cheapest way but it is not
possible in landlocked country like Nepal. Hence, the
railway transport is one of the alternative. After the
establishment of Nepal Railway Corporation(NRC) in
2011 the possibilities of railway transport are ongoing.
Some of the are as follows: Government of Nepal has
completed the feasibility study on East-West and
Kathmandu-Pokhara electric railway having total length
of 1317.5 km

Mechi-Mahakali ≈945 km
fig. no. 1
Tamasariya-Bharatpur-Abukhaireni ≈ 72 km

Pokhara – Kathmandu ≈ 187 km

Connections to Indian Border Towns ≈ 113.5 km

But the section between Nijgadh to Tamasariya has

proposed to change connecting Hetauda and Bharatpur.
The length of the section shall change accordingly. The
construction of embankment and other structures has
already been started.

VI. Case Study

Kathmandu-Pokhara Railway Project For the

convenient and more detailed specification of this project
we have chosen a case study of Kathmandu-Pokhara
Railway Project. In this case study we focused on,
location, Salient features, project details, & cost

A. location: Pokhara-Damauli-Abukhaireni-Kathmandu

Fig. no. 2
VII. Proposed Project: Pokhara Monorail

B. Salient Features A. Location: Pokhara City

• Length : 187.083 km Due to ongoing construction of international airport and

transit point of Pokhara, we have chosen the main station
• No of Bridges : 42 at chauthe. It passes to the Int’l mountain museum-lake
side area-Srijana chowk-Bindhabasini-Manipal-Phulbari-
• Longest Bridge : 1295 m (Madi Nadi)
Matepani-Industrial area & finally to the main station.
• No of Tunnels :44 (107.277 km) Similarly, the route connects two bridges at Narayansthan
and Nagdhunga. Total length of the rail track is estimated
• Longest Tunnel: 14.525 km to be 33 km .

C. Project Details


Office of investment board and

Department of Railway of
Physical infrastructure and

Project Cost Pokhara to kathmandu:2830

(USD) million

Progress Feasibility study

Project Land
151 ha of forest

Fund of
Public Private Partnership

D. Expected Fiscal benefits Fig. no, 3

• Establishment of physical infrastructure

• Creation of employment opportunities

• Better connectivity

• Development of industrial competitiveness

• Reduction of traffic congestion B. Salient Features

• Improvement of road safety I. Length =33 km
• Reduction of pollution 2.No. of bridges: 2

3.No. of stations =8
C. Project Details

Pokhara City

Major stations
Industrial Estate-Chauthe

Project Land
Pokhara city

Progress Feasibility study

D. Benefits

Aftermath of our project various benefits can be obtained.

One among them is that it creates greater employment
opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour. It also
provides administrative facilities to the government. It can
be recognized as a most affordable transport so ,it can
serve as a public welfare. The carrying capacity of railway
is extremely large along with its safety. It is economical,
quicker and best suited for carrying heavy and bulky
goods over long distance. As it is least effected by weather
conditions compared to others so ,it is most dependable
mode of transport. It is better organized as it is scheduled
fix and it saves a lot of time and money.