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Pakistan railways set to become state-of-the-art mode of transport

Published on 4th Apr, Edition 14, 2016

 

Wrecked by thirty years of collapse, bad administration and corruption, the Pakistan Railways unwaveringly going in the right way. The Pakistan Railways management made some substantial developments in financial and operational sides in 2015. It strengthened its passenger operations by improving express trains. It also enhanced number of freight trains and seriously working on growth-oriented projects including some most predominant and much-needed projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Unfortunately it met some shocking accidents owing to battered condition of track and bridges and unmanned railways crossings. Very recently the Gujranwala derailment occurred when a military-special train carrying Pakistan Army unit left its track Gujranwala due to a bridge crumbling under it and in the incident nineteen army men lost their precious lives and over 100 were injured in the hapless event.

Overcoming occupation

Pakistan Railways was unsuccessful to reclaim more than two billion rupees from private operator of Business Train. Likewise, a vast land of the Railways is still under unlawful occupation.

The government has somehow able to recover 3,500 acres of encroached upon land of the Pakistan Railways over the past three and a half years but another 4,300 acres across the country are still under unofficial occupation. Over 80 percent of the encroached upon land is in Punjab and Sindh provinces. The Supreme Court of Pakistan had directed to leave all occupied land of the Railways.

The pitiful condition of the Railways Police could not be ameliorated as the cops are poorly paid as compared to other police of the country. The Railways Police has not been equipped with sophisticated and considered essentials weapons to counter any accident or terrorism activity.

A business class train, which is assumed to be of the affluent class, is unexceptional with regard to equipment and technology.

The issue of Royal Palm Golf and Country Club could not be solved though the department plainly declared it a dubious deal signed during another regime. The Railways had given the club to a private party on lease but later the contract had been declared non-transparent.

Service rehabilitation and recovery

Pakistan Railways in silence suspended operation of Pak-Iran freight service due to security issues and lack of trade activities between the two countries. The freight service between the two countries had been resumed in January 2015. The service had been resumed after gap of five years.

Despite the above said concerns, the Pakistan Railways management performance was to an extent good in various sectors under the dynamic leadership of the present of the present government

The passenger traffic since 2007-08, has declined from 230 trains per day to 92 trains per day, while the number of freight trains has exceedingly went down from 96 per day to just one per day some two years back but now the fleet of 305 locomotives in passenger (250) and freight (55) sectors is on track.

The Railways increased revenue from Rs2.2 million per day to Rs3.2 million per day after taking its control from private group.

 

New train service and upgradation

The Railways launched Green Line Train between Rawalpindi and Karachi in May. It is the first kind of executive train with modern luxuries facilities available for the passengers and it covers the distance in 23 hours between the port city and Rawalpindi.The Railways upgraded Karakorum Express on November 23 and refurbished two rakes of Hazara Express. It made plan to upgrade Business Express, Karachi Express and Pakistan Express in current financial year.

The Pakistan Railways entered into an agreement with American company General Electric which will provide 55 locomotives to the Pakistan Railways in phases. The locomotives will be of 4,000 and 4,500 horse power and utilized in freight sector.

The Pakistan Railway planned to upgrade 22 Railways Stations across the country and the work on Narowal Station has been started in this regard. It completed repair of 105 locomotives out of 150 whose repair was planned. Another project for repair of 27 old locomotives is also in progress. A vital project for doubling of track from Karachi to Lahore has been completed in 2015.

The public utility had been given Rs78 billion for financial year 2015-16. The department is successfully utilizing funds in some major projects as per department spokesperson.

It has given revenue target of Rs32 billion for the financial year 2015-16 but the management claimed to earn Rs6 billion extra from the given target till the end of the year.

The Pakistan Railways has all the abilities to be developed as the state-of-the-art mode of transportation within the country and to promote regional trade and passenger transportation among neighboring countries like Iran, Turkey, India, Afghanistan and Middle East.

Whole track will be up-graded under the CPEC. The train speed will touch 160km/hour (120km/ hour current) after completion of up-gradation of the track.

The Railways’ earnings will touch new stature after the start of coal transportation as the work on different coal power plants continues. It will upgrade all trains and introduce best available facilities to its countrywide passengers.

Digital ticketing

Pakistan Railways is planning to introduce an electronic ticketing system during the current year, and that work on the project has almost been completed. United Bank Limited (UBL) has offered its services for the e-ticketing system. The other A-Class banks are also welcome if they offer competitive charges.

Pakistan Railways is used by thousands of citizens, from all over the country, every day. Passengers will be able to pay for their tickets online via credit/debit cards, online bank transfers or micro transactions (UBL Omni, Easypaisa, Mobicash etc.)

With the launch of the digital ticketing system, passengers will be able to book and pay for tickets from the comfort of their home using computers or mobile phones.

Everything will be handled electronically so tickets can be booked quickly and efficiently with nil human interaction. The likelihood of railway officials charging extra premium in rural or distant railway stations will be practically zero.

Rs65 million had been spent on the refurbishment and upgrade of the Karachi Express train. The expected earnings of the train are projected to be Rs3.95 million per day.

Work on several projects, including those related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and upgrades of the railway stations are underway. Pakistan Railways is looking to improve its facilities and will also be purchasing 200 locomotives during the next fiscal year.

One and half crore passengers who had left travelling through railways have again come in railways system. 10 billion rupees deficit of railways has been reduced and now its deficit has become 27 billion rupees from 37 billion rupees. After a long period, Pakistan Railways have succeeded to construct dual railway track from Karachi to Lahore.

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