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bangladesh's dream comes true with the railway linking the north and the south

on october 10, the opening ceremony of the first section (dhaka-bhanga) of the padma bridge rail link in bangladesh was held. as the train speeds across the padma river, residents on both sides of the river will bid farewell to the "boat ferry" that has lasted for centuries, and enter the era of a more efficient rail transportation.


casco is very fortunate to participate in this classic project that represents the friendship between china and bangladesh, and ended the history of no trains over this rushing "mother river" after three years of hard work.


opening ceremony of padma bridge rail link


the padma bridge rail link (hereinafter referred to as the "project") is the largest infrastructure project in bangladesh's history in terms of scale and investment. with a total length of 168.6 km, the railway starts from the dhaka station in the capital, crosses the padma river, and passes through bhanga and kashiani hubs to the terminal station jessore, where it is connected to the southwestern railway network of bangladesh. after the line is opened, the travel time from dhaka to jessore will be significantly reduced from 10 hours to 2 hours, and more than 20 districts in the south will also be efficiently connected to the capital dhaka. therefore, the project is also affectionately called the “dream road” by local people.

as an epc integrator, casco fully undertook the signal& telecommunication project, covering many aspects such as engineering design, proposal design, equipment procurement, transportation, installation, construction, testing, commissioning, quality assurance, and post-maintenance support, which demonstrates casco's outstanding ability to coordinate and manage major projects.



tackling difficulties with concentrated and concerted efforts
china’s signaling& telecommunication solution conquered bangladesh's railway market


as the largest railway project under the “belt & road” framework between china and bangladesh, the project not only represents another benchmark created by chinese infrastructure enterprise in the international arena, but also realizes the first application of china’s signaling& telecommunication solutions in the bangladesh railway market.

"we started to cooperate with the general contractor to carry out the design of the signaling& telecommunication system of the project from 2015,” said zhang jianwei, casco's project manager. through preliminary research, casco provided technical proposals based on local geographic and climate conditions, differences in signal system standards, and pain points in client’s demand.

bangladesh, often referred to as the “land of rivers”, boasts a network of waterways and moats that crisscross the nation. the entire 60-km-long project passes through various viaducts, including the 6-km-long padma bridge, which is used for both road and railway purposes. therefore, its signal and telecommunication project is much more complicated than that of ordinary projects.


padma bridge


in addition, the local climate conditions in bangladesh are harsh, featuring frequent thunderstorms, strong winds, high temperature and humidity, which raise higher requirements for the signal and telecommunication equipment to withstand natural risks. gu kaige, casco’s chief engineer of the project, added, “these are related to the equipment selection, construction process, product adaptability, etc., and must be carefully considered when formulating technical solution. "

to this end, the core members of the casco’s project team became "flying crew" since 2015, frequently flying to bangladesh to conduct field surveys. according to zhang haipeng, casco's senior overseas sales manager, the team traveled back and forth between china and bangladesh 19 times in 2019 alone, breaking the previous "overseas travel record" of the company.


field survey


during the survey, casco actively communicated with the client, deeply explored their demand, and learned their experience and pain points with the existing signaling system in order to tailor a technical solution for them. “in the early days, the bangladesh railway signaling market was dominated by european system products, and then indian and japanese and korean products arrived. there was a lack of understanding and trust in chinese signaling companies and new technical solutions, so everything was started from scratch,” zhang jianwei was full of emotion, "for example, there was a technical consultant from the supervisor who was skeptical about our technical level at first. coupled with the differences in language and culture, the initial communication between the two parties was not smooth. fortunately, our professional responses and a series of logical and rigorous technical proposals finally impressed this high-standard consultant. later, he also became a ‘fan’ of casco and highly praised our proposal."



communicating with the client at the meeting


in the end, after repeated refining of 4 technical proposals, casco won the favor of the client with its professional performance and excellent strength. in july 2020, casco became the signal& telecommunication epc integrator of the project, providing multiple competitive products and related equipment, including interlocking system, ctc system, switch machines, signals, track circuits, power supply system, crossing system, telecommunication system, optical fiber cables, and power cables." compared with the signal& telecommunication products from india, japan and south korea, our system architecture is more streamlined, with higher safety redundancy and greater expandability, and it is easy to operate and maintain, better meeting the special local needs,” said gu kaige.

“this is a new breakthrough for casco in the international market,” said zhang haipeng emotionally, "among the international signaling companies in the competition, some have been deeply rooted in bangladesh for more than 20 years. we are honored and proud that casco could stand out. "



customizing solutions for bangladesh
based on real needs


heavy rains and hurricanes occur frequently in bangladesh during the monsoon season, which can easily cause floods. therefore, these special conditions needed to be fully considered in the signal& telecommunication proposal of the project and adaptive transformation of multiple core system equipment was required.

the primary consideration is abnormal local climate conditions such as strong winds, thunderstorms, high temperature and humidity, resulting in power outages and other secondary events.

liu ji, deputy project manager, recalled that during thunderstorms, he often heard loud crackling noises outside in small hotels, actually made by small electrical box explosions. in order to ensure that the line can operate normally even in the event of power outage, a "backup" system was added in the design and planning of the project. “we required the power supply system to support the stable operation of the entire system for more than 8 hours after power outage, and for more than 20 hours at crossings outside stations. the system was equipped with dedicated diesel generators and solar power generators respectively to ensure sufficient preparation. "

liu ji, deputy project manager, recalled that during thunderstorms, he often heard loud crackling noises outside in small hotels, actually made by small electrical box explosions. in order to ensure that the line can operate normally even in the event of power outage, a "backup" system was added in the design and planning of the project. “we required the power supply system to support the stable operation of the entire system for more than 8 hours after power outage, and for more than 20 hours at crossings outside stations. the system was equipped with dedicated diesel generators and solar power generators respectively to ensure sufficient preparation. "

not only that, the railway gauge in bangladesh is also different from that in china. the project has meter gauge, broad gauge, and double-gauge track, therefore, casco adapted the crossing system, switch machines and other equipment.




project site


"adaptation of equipment and systems is never easy," said gu kaige, applicability expansion means not only adjusting details such as size and direction, but also involves the safety and stability of the system, which requires great attention. "for example, for a slight adjustment in size, we have to work with the equipment manufacturer to conduct professional evaluation and testing again; and to change the location of an interface, we may have to re-arrange all the equipment in a certain system.”

continuously trained by various new demands, the team members smashed "stumbling blocks" one by one while enhancing their business capabilities to repeatedly break through the "limits" and accumulating a wealth of experience for subsequent other similar projects.



epc project progressed smoothly
with all team members “multifunctional”


as the signal& telecommunication epc integrator, casco has fully demonstrated the cross-disciplinary ability. "although telecommunication and signaling are often referred to together, but they are completely different fields with a large span between them. in addition, we must work closely with other related majors such as subgrade, bridge and culvert, and electric power," said liu ji.

in the implementation of the project, the complex site conditions brought a series of challenges. for example, the laying and protection of optical fiber cables was an unexpected one.

according to the client's requirements, the optical fiber cables should be buried below the road shoulder, which was completely different from the domestic practice, i.e., laying below the foot of the subgrade slope. "taking into account the characteristics of the site and after repeated deliberations, we decided to develop a special trencher to trench during the intervals between the subgrade bottom construction and the surface construction. this not only would avoid damage to the subgrade, but also could greatly improve the construction efficiency and quality of construction. the final result totally amazed the client," liu ji couldn't hide his pride at this point.


trenching with customized trencher


in addition to overcoming technical obstacles again and again, the team members have also made overall improvement in general contracting management, construction management, risk management, cross-team collaboration, document presentation, english communication and other comprehensive abilities, and some have successfully completed their initial professional experience in multiple dimensions.

zhang jianwei said, “there are experienced overseas veterans in the team, as well as new forces who participated in overseas operations for the first time. after this mission, everyone has become multifunctional with comprehensive skills! "

with the railway linking up the north and south, the great moat now becomes a thoroughfare. according to official estimates from bangladesh, once completed, the project is expected to boost bangladesh's gdp growth by about 1.5%, benefiting more than half of the bangladeshi population. veritably, it is a "road of hope"; and as an integral part of the trans-asian railway, it is also an important driving force for the future construction of the bangladesh–china–india–myanmar (bcim) economic corridor.

today, the entire project is still progressing intensively, and our casco people are still going all out to attach technological wings to this "road of hope". this is another key cooperation project that casco has participated in since the "belt and road" initiative was launched ten years ago. as the initiative advances, casco will continue its overseas expeditions and strive to demonstrate the scientific and technological power of chinese signaling system providers on the world stage.

today, a bridge of dream made of steel stands majestically over the padma river. under the bridge is the river that has been unceasingly flowing for thousands of years, telling the history of bangladesh's ups and downs; while on the bridge are freight and passenger trains like dragons crossing the river, which will lead to a takeoff of bangladesh's future development.

every day, the sun rises beside the bridge as usual, while the bangladesh people are waiting for their dreams to come true.

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