I got to an airport and walked down to a train station nearby. After waiting on the long line for the ticket counter, finally I got a tiny strip. Then I headed to the platform for Dhaka central, Bangladesh as people told me.
When I went up to the connecting bridge, I saw a bunch of people with long
telephoto lens camera were squatting along the handrail of the bridge.
"Are they rail enthusiasts in Bangladesh?" But I felt some kinship
in their features. Are they Japanese? Chinese or Korean? Suddenly, a Bangladesh
guy, I guess, beside them shouted as checking his wrist watch. "30
seconds!" At the same time, the lined telephoto lenses aimed at the
railroad track. I wanted to see what's happen next but got hurry on my
way. As I stepped down the bridge to the platform, the train was just coming.
My guide book said "Generally, Bangladesh train loads free ride passengers
on the out side of locomotive and even on the roof top" Although I
got a really big shock when I actually saw it for the first time. As climbing
onto the coach deck, I saw the group of telephoto lens on the bridge photographing
my train. I got what they were waiting for.
I wanted to know who were the photographers. So I looked it up on the web after I checked in the hotel. "Bangladesh Photo Tour 5 Days" "Photographing in Bangladesh" ... I found many photo intensive tours even only in Japanese sites. They could be Japanese. "But is Bangladesh such a photogenic country? Oh! I forgot. I come here for expecting it" Anyway, letting us know an approaching photo object with counting down every second is excellent service , I think. I mean the service is much higher than Bangladesh standard as 6 hours train delay is normal. For taking picture of all highlights of Bangladesh in 5 days, that kind of intensive tour must be really effective.
Trough the travel, I took the Bangladesh Rail train many times after all.
(Unfortunately there were no other way to move because of prolonged strike)
As I mentioned, the famous "riding on the roof top and sticking on
the locomotive" is a common scene of Bangladesh. However contrary
to my expectation, a coach itself was not so crowded, at least compare
to Indian train. So why people climbing up on the roof and sticking on
the loco? Because it's free, I guess. So is it officially permitted? For
the roof top, it might not be. A police ordered the roof top passengers
to get off. Certainly sensitive political situation was another reason.
Someone told me the number of passenger on the roof was fewer than usual.
Nevertheless Bangladesh people climbs on the roof and sit grasping their
knees. Their backs looked alone. Meanwhile what's going on the other free
rider on the loco. Astonishingly a handrail was settled around the body.
Nobody gave warning to hang on. The operator neither. Is this an official
So how about passengers in the train? Of course all of them bought appropriate
tickets. I've thought so. But it's getting unsure in my mind. Some people
never show the ticket even a conductor comes up. They talk to the conductor
for a while. Eventually, he smiled grimly with shrugging and walked away.
That's it? Oh, really?
One passenger asked me "You bought a ticket?" "Oh, you guys
didn't ... ? Is it OK?" I whispered to him. He grinned and said "Sometime
we get police check at the station exit" "I think the fine must
be expensive" "Oh, no problem. Pay some money under the table.
Then we will be free" "Is it never happen the tip becomes more
expensive than the fare?" I asked. He shook his head as if saying
"Oh, no kidding" So the long line in front of the ticket counter
was for what? Finally I was confused with the system of Bangladesh. Although
I wanted to have the experience of the outer seat during the travel. I
could even pay for it. But I had to give it up. Unfortunately I had been
poor shape through the travel.
"The very tight scheduled tourists aimed at the very flexible people
on the roof with telephoto lens" The first impressive scene I met
in Bangladesh was surreal. For me myself, the quite unusual custom "people's
walking on the train roof" became usual. When I got back to Tokyo,
I wondered "Why no passenger's on the roof here?"
" Rooftop class passengers " Bangladesh 2015