Chittagong University, one of the oldest and most prominent universities in Bangladesh has often been known as a 'University with the shuttle train' because of its uniqueness of having shuttle trains for commuting to and from the campus everyday. From its very start, students are dependent on these trains and their running on time.
What really astonished me on my very first day in the university was the distance between the main town and the campus. It is approximately 22 kilometers from the port city on one hand; the road connecting our campus to the town is very narrow, dilapidated and congested on the other. That's why the shuttle trains having seven to nine compartments became a means of communication for almost twenty thousand students. The ageing trains not only render free service to the students but also save their valuable time.
It goes without saying that the evergreen campus is lifeless without the presence of these old but bold trains. The trains hold some special characteristics. Different compartments have different names such as Black Hole, Cockpit, CFC (Choose friends with care), Fata Fati, Ekakar and so on. After classes, we try to move to the station as fast as possible to grab the seats so that friends can sit in one corner and have some fun. It is hardly quiet inside the compartments as students sing different types of songs ranging from English to Bengali parody! The seats and sides are used as drums to add flavour to the music mood. So, who needs musical instruments! Amazingly enough, the harmony the singers create is praiseworthy although it sometimes may turn out to be tedious to some unwilling listeners. Others remain busy gossiping with friends about any topic under the sun.
Ah! Don't forget the bookworms! Although the train is always overcrowded, our bookworms do not miss the opportunity of reading books or magazines during the hour-long journey. They remain oblivious of the noise of the moving train or hollering that goes on in the name of singing! In fact, to some it opens up the horizon of the mind! And other bookworms say that they can best concentrate on a book when there is lots of noise around! So, it takes all kind to make this world, doesn’t it?
When students pass out every year and leave behind the well spent days, one memory they carry in their heart is the fantastic train rides to campus. Many of them still feel nostalgic thinking about their days of the shuttle trains.
Yes, our shuttle train is beset with many problems, and yet its selfless service to students has overcome all the inconveniences. Repair and reconstruction of the railway tracks have become a growing need of the time to speed up the trains. We want the number of trains and compartments to be increased to meet the demand of CU students. The authorities concerned and government should pay sensitive attention in this regard. They must appreciate that despite all the shortcomings and difficulties, the trains never forget to pick up students from many platforms. They are honest in performing their responsibilities.
Long l ive our shuttle trains!
(Sarwar Hussain, CSE (2nd year), CU)