Railway in Nepal and it’s scope

Railway in Nepal and it’s scope

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History of railway development.

In the primitive days goods were carried as head loads or in carts drawn by men or animals. Then efforts were made to replace animal power with mechanical power. In 1769, Nicholes Carnot, a Frenchman, carried out the pioneering work of developing steam energy. This work had very limited success and it was only in the year 1804 that Richard Trevithick designed and constructed a steam locomotive. This locomotive, however, could be used for traction on roads only. The credit of perfecting the design goes to George Stephenson, who in 1814 produced the first steam locomotive used for traction in railways. The first public railway in the world was opened to traffic on 27 September 1825 between Stockton and Darlington in the UK. Simultaneously, other countries in Europe also developed such railway systems; most introduced trains for carriage of passenger traffic during that time. The first railway in Germany was opened from Nurenberg to Furth in 1835. The USA opened its first railway line between Mohawk and Hudson in 1833. The first railway line in India was opened in 1853. The first train, consisting of one steam engine and four coaches, made its maiden trip on 16 April 1853, when it traversed a 21-mile stretch between Bombay (now Mumbai) and Thane in 1.25 hours. Starting from this humble beginning, Indian Railways has grown today into a giant network consisting of 63,221 route km and criss-crossing this great country from the Himalayan foothills in the north to Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) in the south and from Dibrugarh in the east to Dwarka in the west. Indian Railways has a glorious past of more than 150 years.


History of railway in Nepal

  1. 1927 AD: First railway was started at the period of Chandrashamsher from Raxaul to Amlekhgunj, 48 km
  2. 1936 AD: Bijalpura-Janakpur-Jayanagar, 53 km Janakpur-Jayanagar 29 km was in operation till 2014, but currently under upgrading to BG track.
  3. In 1998, two ZDM-5 diesel locomotives were donated by Indian Railway to Nepal Railways
  4. 2004 AD: “Transport Corporation of Nepal – Janakpur Railway” was renamed to “Nepal Railways Corporation Ltd.”
  5. In 2004, the Kolkata – Raxaul – Sirsiya broad gauge line started operations as an Inland Port
  6. In 2008, three other proposals for rail connectivity to Nepal were considered and had preliminary engineering surveys done: New Jalpaiguri (India) to Kakrabitta (Nepal) via Panitanki (46.3 km); Nepalganj Road (India) to Nepalgunj (Nepal) (12.1 km); and Nautanwa (India) to Bhairahawa (Nepal) (15.3 km)
  7. In 2010, a line was proposed connecting Nepal and India.
  8. In 2011, metro trains were proposed in Kathmandu valley, while feasibility studies were conducted by the Delhi Metro Corporation and were declared in the Budget session.
  9. 2011 AD: ‘Department of Railways’ was established on 2068/03/01 B.S (15-June, 2011)
  10. Railways in Nepal: Operating by 2014
  11. Nov 7, 2017-A visiting Chinese delegation has expressed positive stance on development of Nepal-China cross border railway connectivity.
  12. The 23-member team led by Zheng Jian, the deputy director (Vice-Minister) of National Railway Administration of the People’s Republic of China, arrived in Kathmandu on Monday, to conduct a preliminary study on the development of railway networks in the country. During their stay, the Chinese team is scheduled to visit Kerung, Pokhara and Lumbini for preliminary studies on two major railway routes: Kathmandu-Kerung and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini.
  13. Feb 17, 2018-A group of Nepali engineers will receive railway training in China as part of the government’s plan to strengthen technical capacity in the sector. The China government will be providing training to 20 engineers from the Department of Roads (DoR) and Department of Railways (DoRW).
  14. The DoR has also been conducting a field survey for the expansion of railway network in the western region. The proposed railway line has been divided into four parts: 115-km Butwal-Lamahi; 102-km Lamahi-Kohalpur, 95-km Kohalpur-Sukhad and 94-km Sukhad-Gaddachauki.



  1. The overall goal of the railway sector is the 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. This vision should be gained with low cost and with efficient development, expansion and management of railway infrastructures.
  2. The country’s overall (socio-economic) development including greater access and growth to sustainable development and the proper management of the railway service is the vision of the railway sector
  3. Proceeding with the construction, expansion and management of railway network, providing sustainable and capable service, connecting East-West and an important industrial, commercial, tourist towns into national railway networks and connecting with railway service through possible boarders of Indian and Chinese (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.
  4. 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 bt means of Cheap, reliable, safe, efficient rail service


Twenty Year Perspective Plan of Railway Service:

  1. To connect East West (Mechi-Mahakali), Kathmandu-Pokhara-Terai, Kathmandu-Terai, and southern range (Indian boarder) with important industrial, commercial cities and with the northern boundary (China-Tibbat) from the capital Kathmandu. And to associate the urban rail network of industrial, commercial city with the East-West and Kathmandu to Terai rail network.
  2. To associate the Regional Administrative Centers with East-West and Kathmandu – Terai rail network.
  3. The construction of 4000 km new railway network line within the coming 20 years and to meet the goal of 1500 km within the next 10 years and 750 km within the next 5 years.
  4. To start the construction of Kathmandu Valley Metro service in the next 2 years, and to complete in 2073.
  5. To prepare Priority Investment Plan (20 and 10 year).
  6. Making world class railway service.


Railways in Nepal: Future Plan



Government of Nepal has completed the feasibility study on East-West and Kathmandu-Pokhara electric railway having total length of 1317.5 km

  1. Mechi-Mahakali ≈945 km
  2. Tamasariya-Bharatpur-Abukhaireni ≈ 72 km
  3. Pokhara – Kathmandu ≈ 187 km
  4. Connections to Indian Border Towns ≈ 113.5 km
  5. 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.


Kathmandu metro rail:

During a ceremony held at the City Hall on 8 February 2017 Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Spokesperson Gyanendra Karki and Cimex Inc Managing Director Prashida Panday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the conduction of a technical and financial feasibility study into an elevated monorail system in Kathmandu, Nepal. This is the first agreement of its kind signed in Nepal. A first report will be produced within three months, for a 10 km long major route. The full report will be available within one year and will cover all major routes. As per the agreement, Cimex will bear all the costs related to the feasibility study.

On 8 January 2017, during a meeting held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, government agency Investment Board Nepal (IBN) had formed a high level committee to conduct a study on the modality for operating a metro rail service in the Kathmandu valley.

The objective of the monorail system would be to help to get rid of traffic congestion and control pollution. Kathmandu is the capital city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the largest Himalayan state in Asia. It is the largest metropolis in Nepal, with a population of 1.4 million in the city proper and 5 million in the urban agglomeration that spreads across the Kathmandu Valley.


Five metro lines – would be feasible:

Four lines inside the Ring Road

One line running around ring road

A feasibility study concluded that the railway system in the Capital would costs US$ 3.88 billion (Rs 330 billion in 2014).


Railways in Nepal: Challenges

  1. Lack of funding Capacity/Resources
  2. Delay in decision and release of fund
  3. Lack of experts
  4. Dependence on others
  5. Lack of expertise in tunneling
  6. Lack of priority for railway
  7. Harsh topography not suitable for railway
  8. Railway projects are not feasible for private funding
  9. Unlike roads, rolling stocks are to be managed by operator in railway
  10. Safety and control system






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