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Sakrand: Waiting for a train since 1991

Published Jan 28, 2015 05:55pm

By Farooq Soomro | January 28, 2015

The last train may have left Sakrand railway station 25 years ago but the Station building is still a gathering place for the locals. Time has taken its toll on the structure but it still retains an air of grandeur which was characteristic of railway constructions across the subcontinent and with a pinch of nostalgia it could ignite memories and emotions associated with the railways line.

I was driving to Nawabshah from Karachi when I decided to make a pitstop in Sakrand town. Driving through Sakrand, the street walls caught my eyes, they were all blanketed by the branding of telecom packages. The Sakrand station was found on the outskirts of the sleepy town.

The outside walls of the station were rife with political graffiti with occasional posters of local leaders. I stepped inside and found a group of people standing in the middle of the compound. The hustle bustle could match that of a small market. Turned out that it was a flea market for mobile phones! Our nation has an uncontrollable affinity to mobile phone gadgets and popup markets like these only reconfirm our appetite for connectivity.

There were a bunch of people hanging out in small pockets around the compound. The track outside had disappeared and buffaloes were seen relaxing in pallid winter sunlight. There was a parcel godown on the far side of the station, which was put to use as well. There was a pool table in the middle and few children were having a quick game. There were few gloomy calendars hanging from the wall and a bulb dangling from the roof.

We stepped outside. People wanted to know if we were from Railway headquarters and if we would do something about the resumption of railway service to Sakrand.

Sakrand Station was a busy junction in the days of yore. It was constructed in 1936 to connect Tharo Shah, Bhit Shah and other hamlets to Nawabshah and rest of the country. People told me that the last train left the station in 1991. The service was discontinued probably due to Pakistan Railways inability to generate revenues from this region. The locals were still hopeful that it would resume some day.