The Indian Government has invested around Rs5.5bn ($74.97m) for the 17km extension of the 68.72km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas Indo-Nepal railway project.

The route has Janakpur, which is the famous pilgrim centre in Nepal.

This move is aimed at improving rail connectivity between India and Nepal, PTI reported.

A portion of the railway project that runs from Madhubani district’s Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha, Nepal, is also planned to be extended up to Bijalpura. This is 17km further from Kurtha.

The IRCON-developed project is expected to be ready by March.

Once the Nepalese Government hands over land for the project, a new line is set to be constructed to Bardibas, after Bijalpura.

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Konkan Rail Corporation (KRCL) supplied two sets of 1600 HP DEMU passenger rakes to operate rail service on the route.

Comprising two AC coaches each apart from non-AC coaches, the DEMU rakes were handed over to Nepal last September.

This is claimed to be the first broad-gauge passenger rail service in Nepal.

Prior to this, Nepal operated a narrow-gauge service that was running between Jayanagar and Janakpur until 2014.

The Indian Railways has prepared and shared a draft standard operating procedure (SOP) with Nepal Railways for starting passenger train operations in the section.

Nepal Railway Company is considering KRCL to run the operations and maintain the line.

Both the countries are working together to start rail services between Jayanagar and Kurtha.

After completing the necessary technical and operational requirements, the service is expected to commence.

Last month, Indian Railways received all the necessary wildlife, forestry and coastal regulation zone clearances in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra for a 508km-long bullet train project running between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.