“This was agreed while finalizing the Standard Operating Procedure (SPA) for cross-border railway operation,” The Kathmandu Post reported quoting Deepak Kumar Bhattarai, director general at the department. The SPA is a document outlining the procedures to be followed while operating the railway service.
Last month, Nepal and India had signed the SPA in New Delhi, after which India handed over the 34.9km Kurta-Jayanagar section of the railway infrastructure to Nepal government in third week of October. The new infrastructure was built for broad gauge railway operation by replacing old infrastructure for narrow-gauge railway service, which had stopped more than seven years ago.
Nepal doesn’t yet have a separate law governing the operation of railway services. As a result, two Diesel Electric Multiple Unit train sets purchased by the government in September last year have been lying idle in Janakpur. “Initially, the Indian side had proposed that third country nationals should be completely prevented from using the railway service,” according to Bhattarai, adding. However, with the request from Nepal government it was later agreed between the two countries that even third country nationals can travel on the railway within Nepalese territory. However, they won’t be allowed to cross over to India.