GHD was invited to participate in a feasibility study for an open cut high-grade coal mining operation at Phulbari in the Northeast of Bangladesh (close to the border with India). Output from the mine was to be transported some 400 to 500 kilometres to the coast and to a suitable point for export. Peter Wilkinson undertook an assessment of rail transportation options, to either the ports of Chittagong, Mongla or Calcutta. The port of Mongla, being a shallow water port with difficult access, was considered unsuitable for bulk coal vessels and so required additional analysis as a potential destination or staging point. The rail component of the feasibility study comprised:
• A review the anticipated traffic volumes;
• Consideration of rolling stock options to meet theanticipated traffic;
• Consideration of the impacts of a proposed outline operating specification on the existing infrastructure – i.e. the capacity of existing track standards/ specification /condition, capacity / condition of existing structures (bridges etc), existing rail configuration (crossing loops etc) and signalling and communications requirements to cope with proposed traffic demand; and
• Consideration of the extent to which new lines or infrastructure might be required to meet mine requirements.