India and Bangladesh inaugurate their Customs and Immigration facilities at Kolkata International Station and Dhaka Cantonment Station respectively, for the processing of international passengers thus discontinuing the practice of requiring everyone to get off the train with their bag and baggage twice (at Gede and Darshana) for border formalities). This immediately lopped off almost three hours from the time-tabled running time between the origin and the destination. Passengers are now requested to arrive two hours before departure at the originating station.
This also enabled the introduction of the second service to Bangladesh to Khulna (via Jessore using the Benapole-Petrapole border checkposts) from Kolkata with no border inspection at the border in India. There is single border processing stop at Benapole in Bangladesh since they don't have their international processing facility up and running in Khulna yet.
For those into consists scheduling - Both India and Bangladesh contribute one consist each, both with identical accommodations. Both consist of four AC Chair Cars (72 seater), four AC I Sleepers (seating in compartments ~30 seats) and two Luggage/Guard/Generator Cars. They are cars manufactured in India under license from Alstom for their so called LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) design capable of 200kph, currently certified for 160kph, but currently used on this route to run no faster than100kph.
The service is powered in both Bangladesh and India by Alco Century derivatives manufacture in India, usually IR Class WDM-3A and their Bangladeshi equivalent. The Indian engine takes the train from Kolkata to Darshana in Bangladesh where it is swapped out for a Bangladesh Railway engine. The Indian engine is from the Bardhaman Shed of the Eastern Railway. The Indian consist is from the Howrah passenger shed of Eastern Railway,
Oddly enough, if the engine change was at Gede instead of Darshana, IR could use electric traction, since the line is electrified literally to within a few hundred feet of the border. But Darshana has more storage space and a trip shed for the locos, unlike Gede which has only EMU service to Kolkata and hence normally handles no locomotives at all.
The normal schedule is for an 8am-ish departure and a 4pm-ish arrival +/- half hour of time zone difference between the two countries. Both consists operate two round trips between Kolkata and Dhaka each week thus operating a four times a week service. In addition the Indian consist is used on one day for a round trip to Khulna in Bangladesh. There is a plan to increase the frequency to Dhaka to 5 times a week and Khulna to twice a week, which does not require any additional equipment. Beyond that it will require at least a partial use of one more consist to bring the Dhaka service to daily.
The next big step, with completion of the dual gauge connection to Akahura and thence to Agartala in Northeast India would be to start running sealed trains from Kolkata to Agartala through Bangladesh reducing the travel time to a third of what it is today to do the same trip entirely through Indian territory. Bangladesh appears to be keenly interested in such trains, both passenger in freight, since it will be a very good source of stable transit income.