LAHORE: Transportation of goods, the major source of income for railways worldwide, has attracted the attention of Pakistan Railways (PR) officials.

“The running time of freight trains between Karachi and Lahore will be reduced while the frequency and destinations of cargo expresses will also be increased,” Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said at a news conference at PR headquarters in Lahore on Saturday.

Freight trains cover the distance between the Sindh and Punjab capitals in three days and the minister expressed the resolve to cut the time by two-and-a-half days. Three cargo express trains are running between Lahore’s Badami Bagh station and Karachi in a week now and Saad vowed to increase the number to 12 besides starting the service on Karachi-Multan-Faisalabad sections also.

Railways can spare 45 locomotives for freight service at present, but the number will be 70 by June 30 next year. An agreement with the National Logistics Cell will be signed on Nov 14 for induction of 10 freight-specific locomotives into the PR fleet.

“Focus on freight sector will not only fetch revenue for the railways but also generate employment opportunities. Some 10,000 people have started earning their livelihood after resumption of the Cargo Express,” said the minister and announced his department had decided to increase its revenue target from Rs28 billion to more than Rs31 billion for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

POSTINGS: Three officers of the civil engineering wing of the PR were given new assignments on Saturday, while one was suspended from service on the charge of delinquency.

Mughalpura Workshops Divisional Engineer Iftikhar Ahmed was made the Sukkur divisional engineer II in place of Khadim Hussain, who was suspended for not immediately reaching the site at Sibbi where two foot patrollers were murdered while on duty.

Headquarters Executive Engineer (XEN) Jamshaid Ali would be the Mughalpura divisional engineer, Headquarters XEN (Budget and Revenue) Nadeemur Rehman the deputy director (property and land) in place of Faisal Imran, who was made the deputy director (property and land) at the Lahore division.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2014