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Portraits | Photojournalist: Amy Helene Johansson

Portraits | Photojournalist: Amy Helene Johansson | PHOTOGRAPHERS | Scoop.it

"Unsafe Journey. A woman is riding between the railway carriages of a local train heading north from Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Her luggage is tucked under the carriage in front of her. It is the month of Ramadan, a fast which culminates in Eid-ul-Fitr, a three-day celebration. Tens of thousands of people leave the city to go to their home village and celebrate with their families. Trains are packed and many who fail to get tickets before they sell out or can't afford buying them at the black market ride on the roof of the train or, like this woman, finds a quiet spot between the carriages." 

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Nothing To Hold On To | Photographer : G.M.B. Akash

Nothing To Hold On To | Photographer : G.M.B. Akash | PHOTOGRAPHERS | Scoop.it

Nearly three thousand kilometers of railroad tracks crisscross the delta lowlands of Bangladesh, connecting the capital, Dhaka, with Chittagong to the southeast and Calcutta to the southwest.  The system was built largely by the British and began operations in 1862, more than a hundred years before Bangladesh became an independent nation. Bangladeshi rolling stock now carries more than forty million passengers a year in three ticketed classes: air-conditioned, first, and second—and then there are the passengers who can’t pay. These riders, many of them daily commuters going to and from work, cling to handles, crouch in doorways, perch on the couplings between cars, and climb onto the roof. 

 

I live in Dhaka and began riding the rails with my camera in 2006. I wanted to draw attention to the danger the stowaways expose themselves to; gruesome accidents are routine for free riders. There is nothing to hold on to and it is very difficult to keep your footing. On a recent ride, I spoke to Majed Miya, a carpenter who has traveled on the roof for two decades. Miya said he enjoys riding on the roof: “no one really disturbs me there, except the fear of death.”

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India's longest train journey - the himsagar express | Photographer: Suzanne Lee

India's longest train journey - the himsagar express | Photographer: Suzanne Lee | PHOTOGRAPHERS | Scoop.it

"The 6318 / Himsagar Express, India's longest running train journey, takes us on a journey from the Indian Himalayas to the southern-most tip of India, spanning over 3720 kilometres. The train takes over 72 hours (often with delays) and halts at over 70 stations, crossing 9 states in the vast expanses of India. A wide diversity of locals travel on this train - students returning home to their hometowns, farmers going from village to village, families and sadhus of making pilgrimage and even people just going to work for the week. Buskers, beggars, snake charmers, chai and hot meal hawkers, toiletries peddlers and newspaper wallahsregularly punctuate the festive and pensive air as they hop on and off the moving train as it passes through the ever-changing countryside landscapes and 'smell-scapes'." (Suzanne Lee)

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