The two countries reviewed implementation of ongoing cross-border railway links and overall bilateral cooperation in the railway sector

Rail connectivity between India and Nepal has received a further boost with the two countries inking two agreements on advancing cross-border railway links at the 5th Joint Working Group (JWG) and the 7th Project Steering Committee meetings--held from October 6 to 7-- in New Delhi.

During meeting the two countries reviewed implementation of ongoing cross-border railway links and overall bilateral cooperation in the railway sector, said a Ministry of External Affairs statement on Thursday.

Both sides signed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for start of passenger train services on the Jaynagar-Kurtha section and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Final Location Survey (FLS) of the proposed broad gauge railway line between Raxaul and Kathmandu.

According to the statement, the SOPs provide the technical aspects of running passenger trains on the new section and will serve as a guiding document for early start of rail services in the upcoming cross-border railway links with Nepal.

The proposed Raxaul-Kathmandu broad gauge railway line will further boost connectivity between India and Nepal, the MEA stated.

The statement also mentioned that both sides discussed the ongoing works of Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar broad gauge railway lines between India and Nepal, being developed with grant assistance from the Government of India.

The MEA added that the technical preparedness of the completed 34 km long section of the railway line, from Jaynagar (India) to Kurtha (Nepal) for operationalization of passenger train services was also reviewed.

Nepali side also informed that necessary regulatory framework will be put in place to facilitate early operationalization, it added.

For Kurtha to Bilajpura (17.25 km) section of the railway line, Nepal side assured to provide necessary facilitation for completion of the work at the earliest, the MEA statement noted.

It stated that both sides also agreed to expedite the work on completion of the 18.6 km long Jogbani-Biratnagar rail link, and its early operationalization.

The progress on Raxaul-Kathmandu broad gauge railway link and phase-II railway link projects were also discussed, the statement said further.

Both sides agreed to enhance technical cooperation in the railway sector, including in the areas of capacity building, logistic support and training of Nepali railway personnel, it mentioned.

On the Indian side, JWG was led by Manoj Singh, Executive Director (Traffic Transportation-Freight), Ministry of Railways, and PSC by Anurag Bhushan, Joint Secretary, DPA-III Ministry of External Affairs; the Nepali side was led by Keshab Kumar Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.