THE Pakistan Railways (PR) had 821 locomotives in 1948. Today it has only 528, out of which only 140 locomotives are functional, according to the data compiled by Zaheer Mahmood Siddiqui (Nov 11).

The rest of Mr Siddiqui’s data on the PR is equally depressing.

Does it require any more data to pinpoint the issues being faced by the PR today!

Mr Siddiqui points out that the PR has three American engines constructed by G.E. and Alco. It also has Hitachi from Japan, Adtranz from Germany and some Chinese ones.

The writer talks about issues faced by the PR where the designs of these engines are concerned. Does this mean that American, Japanese, German and Chinese engines are faulty? Or is the PR trying to cover up its own inefficiency and that of its engineers?

Railway engines are like any other diesel engine; the only difference is their size. A diesel engine needs a constant supply of oil, cooling - water circulation in engine bodies and the timely replacement of air, oil and fuel filters. If only this is taken care of, then 90 per cent of the maintenance work is considered done.

During maintenance, different components are cleaned, inspected, recalibrated and replaced, if required. It seems that these basic needs are not being carried out.

Diesel - engine - driven flat - bed trucks operating at the Karachi Port are from the 1950s and 1960s. Their caretakers maintain these machines in great working condition at all times.

The spares for these old models are no longer available and, therefore, they are scavenged from other types of models. Using their ingenuity, they also use parts available in the Sher Shah scrap - market to good use.

PR engineers should exchange notes with these experts and ask for ideas so as to scavenge parts from the 288 idle engines that are rotting away in PR sheds. In fact, the PR management should go ahead and hire them as consultants.

Bringing more engines on railway tracks will resolve most of Pakistan Railways’ woes. The rest will fall into place automatically, God willing.


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Comments (9)

December 4, 2012 3:41 am
GOVT SHOULD find a permanent solution to the problem of railways. it needs revamping. but nobody is listening.MAY ALLAH SAVE US.MAY ALLAH HELP US.....AAAMEEEEN
P Setra
December 4, 2012 4:50 am
Mr. Majid, How long would it take India or Pakistan to be as developed and as rich as USA? Indian Railways transports passengers equal to population of Pakistan every 10 days. Can you imagine how much energy/ money will be needed to do that if smaller vehicles were used ? In USA cars are most popular and convenient way of individual transport. A lot of governments operate railways at loss only because of convenience/affordability of common man. You must be well off, whose friends travel by cars and planes. But what percentage of Pakistanis can afford that? If Pakistani Railways was as developed as Indian Railways, I am sure it would be as popular as Indian Railways for AN ORDINARY PAKISTANI (AAM ADMI)
December 3, 2012 8:30 pm
time to privatise PR, this is whole in which no matter how much cash you throw in, it will never resolve the problems. Privatised Rail is the only solution.
December 3, 2012 5:25 pm
Resolution is simple, contract it out to foreign company with rights to recruit and dismiss incompetent persons. Corruption is tearing and bleeding Pakistan to slow death.Name me a single industry that's economically anywhere near being healthy.
Pankaj Brahhma
December 3, 2012 5:29 pm
Why dont you buy modern engines from India, at an affordable price? Ours are good ones.
Sadiq Amin
December 3, 2012 12:08 pm
Agreed the locomotives are the main concern but Railways is seeped into a stream of problems. Over staffing, corruption, bad management, lack of maintenance, plunder of assets and incompetent employees have ruined this jewel of Railways what was then NWR and later PWR and still later PR. Only till few years back the Railways used to print it's time table giving minute by minute details of running trains. A major overhaul is necessary by a dedicated team of management to check the total destruction of this strategic asset. As seen over the years, the present Government is least concerned to correct the situation and is pushing Railways to a point of no return.
Syed Mubeen Bokhari
December 4, 2012 4:38 am
looking at the conditions of yr trains ,it does not support yr claim
December 3, 2012 1:46 pm
Call Laloo Prasad, he will sort the problems as he has done with Indian Railways.
Ali Khar Majid
December 3, 2012 6:09 pm
Mr. Raza, trains are an archaic mode of transportation which no modern society uses. In America, Amtrak is bankrupt and only has 78 locomotives.In Japan, trains are being privatized and is losing money. So, we should not waste our time and mony on PR. We should invest in airplanes and cars for our transportation needs. Anyway, I know of noone who uses PR. All of my frends and relatives use either planes or cars to travel in Pakistan. We're a nuclear capable nation and we should move forward, no need to look to our past, like India, and save our trains. You know, in america, pakistanis are among the smartest and richest peiple. And this shows we have good colleges and smart people. WE should put all of the PR workers to operate our airports and airplanes.
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