Dhaka and Chittagong are the two biggest cities in Bangladesh, and there are several trains a day connecting the cities. It’s a far better option than the bus, so plan ahead if you are travelling between the two.
I was originally looking for an agent to buy a ticket for me but my hotel was of little assistance, and I didn’t see any travel agents in my wanders. You can buy tickets online if you have a local mobile phone number. I had opted not to get a sim card as I wanted to go offline for a while. If I had known about this I would have got a sim card.
I went old-school and lined up for a ticket myself. I went two days before as I read the train sells out in advance. I waited 45 minutes in the queue to get a ticket. The ticket agent didn’t speak English but I had the train number and date of travel written down in anticipation. The daily train details are written on a big board in the ticket hall.
My ticket was 656 Bangladeshi Taka ($7.94 USD). I got the Mohanagar Provati (inter city)  which had the most civilised travel hours. It departs at 7.45am and arrives at 1.50pm, making it a (supposedly) 6 hour 5 minute trip.
I arrived early to get something to eat and make sure my I got the right train.
One thing I didn’t count on was that the platform information had the train numbers in Bengali numerals. I didn’t even know that was a thing, so I stood at the platform entrance trying to decipher which train was mine.
As it turns out I was the only foreigner at the station so I was standing out like a sore thumb. A young man saw me looking lost and came to my assistance. He had studied in Australia so he was just as pleased to see me as I was of him. He walked me to my train and found the right carriage.
The train departed on time so that was a good start. Travelling through the urban heart of Dhaka is a sight in itself, with markets and slums built right up along the train line.
Once the train had got out of Dhaka a man came through serving breakfast boxes. I wasn’t sure if this was part of the ticket (as it is on some trains in India and Thailand). I took a box anyway just to see.
The box had a fried skinny chicken leg, a Bengali spiced vegetable cake, and two pieces of plain white bread.
A tea and coffee service also comes through, which is an amazing sight to watch as the drinks are served in crockery.
The breakfast was 90 BDT ($1.09 USD) and the coffee 20 BDT ($0.24 USD).
The good news is that there is a western toilet available. The bad news is that the floor was sloshing with bog water.
The seats were comfortable and the cabin temperature was just right. I was comfortable in jeans and t-shirt .
The train was about an hour later by the time it got to Chittagong. I was expecting a delay so overall I was pleased to be able to take this instead of a bus.