The main train travel operator is Bangladesh Railways (BR), www.railway.gov.bd - UK citizens need a visa for Bangladesh - see www.bangladeshhighcommission.org.uk
Train travel in Bangladesh
Bangladesh only seems to get bad press but is in fact a beautiful, fascinating, rich country with an interesting history. It's still quite new to travellers. Bangladesh has a mostly British built train network but it does link most major towns and cities including Dakha and Chittagong. The natural great rivers which divide the country provide the split between the eastern and western rail network. Connections between the two halves are generally poor as the western network is mostly broad guage and the eastern is mostly metre guage.
Dhaka - Chittagong by train
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and Chittagong, its second city has a good train service. Due to the fact that they are both on the eastern half on the metre guage network helps this. Fast daily daytime InterCity trains travel between the two cities as well as two good overnight services with sleeping cars. Due to the high quality and good service provided by these InterCity train, reservation is highly recommended as they often leave full. To check timetables visit www.railway.gov.bd.
Calcutta to Dhaka - by bus
Dhaka to Calcutta is linked by air conditioned long distance buses several times a day. The journey takes around 8 hours and costs around $10 one way.
Calcutta to Bangladesh by train
From Calcutta to the India/Bangladesh frontier there are two main train links, one to Gede and the other to Bangaon. The Bangladesh railway station at Gede is a 1km walk across the frontier for trains south to Khulna or for travel to the north but not to Dhaka. At Bangaon walk across the frontier a short distance to Benapol station on the Bangladesh side for a daily train to Khulna but again not Dhaka. You will need to check that foreign travellers are allowed to cross at your chosen crossing point.
The Thomas Cook European Timetable
The Thomas Cook European timetable has train, bus and ferry times for every country in Europe, plus currency and climate information. It's essential for any independent traveller. It costs around £11.50 and is available from the 'Books on Rail Travel' section of this website.
Never travel by train, independently or in a group, without a good guidebook. The best guides are the the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. Both guidebooks have the same excellent level of practical information and cultural and historical background. Again these are available from the 'Books on Rail Travel' section of this website.
If you're on a very tight budget you may find a room or a bed in a dorm at a backpacker hostel. Take a look at www.hostelbookers.com.
Travel insurance isn't a luxury - it's a necessity. Ensure its included in your holiday budget. There are many providers these days so shop around to get the best deal but always make sure you have adequate cover and that it is underwritten by a reliable insurer. Sometimes an annual multi trip is cheaper than separate policies for each trip.
EU health card
UK citizens travelling in Europe should carry a European Health Insurance Card. This replaces the old E111 forms as from January 2006. The EHIC card is available free from www.ehic.org.uk and entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the UK's NHS.