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Pakistan Railways on the right track

Railways
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News Analysis |

Pakistan Railways has replaced around 199 kilometres tracks during the last year on various sections of railway network in the country for smooth operation of trains. “The railway tracks on the network are being replaced under various Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects,” official sources in the Ministry of Railways told a news agency.

They said that Pakistan Railways has also locked in arrangements for the upgradation and construction of more than 50,000 kilometres of tracks across the country on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis. In this regard, the railways ministry has invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) for the pre-qualification of contractors, after which 10 companies were selected through a bidding process, they added. The BOT mechanism will resolve financing issues, which have remained one of the main hurdles in the way of implementing various projects, the sources said.

The sources said that rehabilitation and improvement of existing tracks would also be carried out to achieve higher speeds of up to 160 km per hour for which feasibility studies of some of the sections were being conducted.

The existing track on the main corridor (ML-I) is being upgraded under CPEC to elevate the speed of passenger and freight trains and improvise the turnaround of wagons and locomotives.

There have been extensive repair works going on by the only profitable government public service organization on the century-old railway tracks. Yet, in a controversial move, the Government has decided to raise the cost of the 11-year old rehabilitation project of the railways infrastructure that was destroyed by mob violence and vandalism in 2007 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The proposed raise in the total cost is 34.6%, Global Village Space earlier reported.

The loss caused by these attacks ran into billions of rupees and since then Pakistan Railways has been trying to repair and rehabilitate damaged rail engines, stations, buildings and bridges. Rioters had torched 35 locomotives, 139 coaches and 65 stations, damaged 36 bridges and 27 manned level crossings, uprooted signal and communication systems and tracks besides six tracks machines and cranes in the Karachi and Sukkur divisions of the railways, suspending all kinds of rail traffic to and from the Sindh capital.

Read more: Pakistan Railways bringing in three new services

The Karakoram Express was the first train that left Lahore station for Karachi on Jan 1 when rail service to the Sindh capital was partially restored after five-day suspension. Out of 263 passenger trains, 32 were not operating while six out of 45 freight trains were non-functional till Jan 12 this year. Of these, 14 were on the main corridor while 18 were on branch lines.

Pakistan railways is also set to launch three new train routes. These routes would operate between Kohat-Rawalpindi, Karachi-Mirpurkhas, and Sibbi-Khost said a railway ministry official. “Currently, 104 passengers and 60 trains, including 12 freight trains, are operative in the system on a day to day basis.”

The sources said that rehabilitation and improvement of existing tracks would also be carried out to achieve higher speeds of up to 160 km per hour for which feasibility studies of some of the sections were being conducted.

Speaking to a publication, he informed that in 2013-14, Pakistan Railways was struggling with a Rs. 33.50 billion deficit, which was brought down to Rs. 32.35 billion through the reduction of expenditure and increasing revenue. In 2014-2015 the deficit was reduced to Rs. 27.246 while in 2015-16 it was brought down to Rs. 26.993 billion.

Read more: Is Pakistan China’s darling?

The details of the current fiscal year, 2016-2017 are being accumulated. The speculation about the 2016-2017 railways deficit is that it may have increased due to the increments in salaries and pensions announced earlier this year. The existing track on the main corridor (ML-I) is being upgraded under CPEC to elevate the speed of passenger and freight trains and improvise the turnaround of wagons and locomotives.

Another official confirmed that Pakistan Railways has launched a project to upgrade Main Line-1 (Peshawar to Karachi) and develop a new dry port near Havelian. These initiatives have been taken up under the banner of China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC).


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5 COMMENTS

  1. I dream of Pakistan having a rail network of trains running criss cross to each and every place in pakistan. They ought to be high standard trains like we are in UK, USA and other parts of the world. Like what China has built in East afric It’s possible and can be done faster than what one imagines if in addition to what is spelt out in the article above Pakistan Railways goes into a public-private partnership and draws in most of the finances from the private sector. As long as a businessman can make a buck on what he invests he or that enterprise is ready to invest. Railway is a very fruitful business – passenger and cargo. Time for Pakistan to go for fast trains and lots of cargo trains.

    Before I end I must felicitate and appreciate the hard work that KHAWAJA SAAD RAFIQUE the Federal Minister for Railways and his team has put in towards bringing about colossal improvement in Pakistan Railways. They deserve an applause from us all. Let us together applaud their effort. Well done Team Pakistan Railways and it’s Leader KHAWAJA SAAD RAFIQUE

  2. خواجہ سعد رفیق سے پہلے غلام احمد بلوع اور شیخ رشید نے ریلوے کی جو حالت کر دی تھی اس کے بعد یہ وزارت ایک بہت بڑا چیلنج تھی۔ تباہ حال ریلوے میں کافی بہتری لائی گئی۔

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