Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan inaugurates factory, which will supply 370,000 railway sleepers for the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project
The China Railway Group Limited (also known as CREC), the Chinese construction contractor of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project (PBRLP), has set up an automated sleeper manufacturing factory in Faridpur’s Bhanga upazila.
Wang Kun, project director for CREC, said the firm had set up the factory to dispel uncertainties over the global procurement of sleepers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and to produce sleepers quickly for the project while maintaining quality.
“The sleeper-laying base currently employs around 200 local men who have undergone proper professional training by senior Chinese experts of CREC. The factory will be able to produce up to 500 sleepers daily,” he added.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan on Wednesday inaugurated the sleeper manufacturing factory, which will supply 370,000 railway sleepers for the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project.
“This is the first modern and automated sleeper manufacturing factory in Bangladesh. Sleepers are being produced here maintaining quality by using machines,” the railways minister told reporters after visiting the factory.
CREC has brought technologies and machines from China to run the factory in Bhanga, he said.
The Padma Bridge Rail Link will be the most important passageway for passenger and freight transportation between eastern and western Bangladesh. The rail route starts from the existing Dhaka station, goes through Mawa, Padma Multipurpose Bridge (under construction) and Bhanga, and ends in Jessore. The total length of the new line is approximately 168.8km.
Financed by China Eximbank, the PBRLP is also the biggest G2G infrastructure project in Bangladesh.
“We will take a decision after consulting with them [CREC] whether the factory can be used for producing sleepers for Bangladesh Railway (BR) after the completion of this project,” the minister said.
CREC built the factory on Bangladesh Railway's land and will have to pay rent for it, a railway official said.
Opting to remain anonymous, he said the rent related issues, however, had not been settled yet.
On August 22, the sleeper factory started production on a small scale. The railways minister formally inaugurated it on Wednesday.
Railways Ministry Secretary Md Salim Reza, BR Director General Md Shamsuzzaman and Project Director Golam Fakhruddin Ahmed Chowdhury, among others, accompanied the minister during the inauguration.
Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming was supposed to take part in the program but could not be present due to the deteriorating Covid-19 situation, the railways minister informed reporters.
However, Wang Kun, project director for CREC, read out a message from the Chinese ambassador before the media.
Details of the factory
The factory covers an area of 1.815 acres, with 104 sets of moulds, 16 stations, 6 steam curing pits and 2 sky cranes put into use. The sleeper factory has a fully enclosed steel structure and automatic assembly line operation.
All the equipment is provided by CREC and is tailored for Bangladesh Railway construction, combining Asian and European standards, with an average daily capacity of producing more than 500 sleepers.
The sleeper factory, which shoulders the considerable sleeper manufacture amount of 370,000 sleepers of PBRLP, is able to independently produce more than a dozen types of sleepers, including 1,676 mm ballasted broad gauge sleeper, ballast-less broad gauge sleeper and dual gauge sleeper, currently used in Bangladesh.
It is also the largest sleeper factory with the most advanced equipment, standardization and automation in Bangladesh.