ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan Railways has completed the feasibility study and preliminary design for the up-gradation of Main Line-I from Peshawar to Karachi under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“It is top priority of Pakistan Railways to upgrade the ML-I as 70 percent traffic of passengers and freight,” an official in the Ministry of Railways told the state-run news agency.
The railways official said that groundwork on project is likely to be initiated by March. “Although Pakistan Railways has set an ambitious target for starting the groundwork, it is working hard to meet this target,” he added.
The official said that ML-I should be completed in five years and by the up gradation of the project, the speed of trains will be increased.
“In 2012-13, only 92 passenger and 8 freight trains had run on system with pathetic condition but now over 100 passengers and around 55 freight trains are running on the system,” he added.
Regarding the availability of locomotives, he said that in 2013 only 160 locomotives were functional out of 465 but now with the concentrate effort of the government 324 locomotives are functional out of 473.
“During the current tenure of the government as many as 140 locomotives of different horse powers had been added in the fleet and contract of 20 locomotives has already been awarded to General Electric,” he added.
The official said the earning of the Pakistan Railways have been improved, and in 2013, it had Rs 18 billion and in 2016-17, it has around Rs 40 billion that 22 time more as comparing to previous.
“Pakistan Railways will become best railway system in the region during the next 12 to 15 years if it is working on that foundation which has been given by the current government,” he said.
Pakistan Railways has improved the living standard of Collies and provided them green uniform and directed their contractors to provide them food and common rooms.
“Pakistan Railways is transporting oil from 3 to 4 trains that earns revenue of Rs 10 to 20 million annually,” he said, adding that the department is providing 5 trains to Sahiwal coal project which makes revenue of Rs 13 billion out of which Railways get Rs 5 billion.”
To another question, he said that Pakistan Railways has not taken any bailout package from the government during the last four and half years and the department was met its own expenses during this period.
“The punctuality of the trains was very much improved and now the ratio is 75 percent, adding that in 2013 the oil reservation is only for one day but now Pakistan Railways has oil reserve for 17 days,” he added.
The railways official said the department has retrieved 1055 acres land from the land grabbers and operation in this regard is underway with the help of Pakistan Railway Police and local administration.