Nothing to hold on to
three thousand kilometers of railway track crisscross the delta lowlands of
Bangladesh, connecting Dhaka, the capital, with Chittagong to the south-east
and Calcutta to the south-west. The system was built largely by the British and
began operations in 1862, more than a hundred years before Bangladesh became an
Bangladeshi trains now carry 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 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,'