LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways is planning to run a record number of special trains this Eid while no proposal is under consideration to increase rail fares without values addition, says Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique.
“Three more new trains of the standard of Greenline Express, having 100 per cent occupancy, will be launched during the next fiscal year,” said the minister at the agreement signing ceremony between the PR and an American company General Electric (GE) for the supply of 55 diesel-electric locomotives, at the railways headquarters here on Saturday.
Under the agreement, the GE would deliver five locomotives in completely built units (CBU) form by the end of November next year. The remaining CBU locomotives would reach Pakistan by April 2017. The locomotives of 4000-4500 horsepower would be the highest capacity locos the PR ever had.
“Within three years or so, these locomotives would recover their cost Rs500 million per unit. The basic purpose to procure such high-capacity locomotives is to transport coal for coal-fired power plants under construction in Punjab.
Railways plan record number of special Eid trains
“Some 40 of the new locomotives, 20 to 22 would be dedicated for Sahiwal, 10 for Jamshoro and the rest for other coal plants. The remaining 15 locos to haul freight trains to generate more revenue for railways,” said Mr Rafique.
The Risalpur Locomotive Factory was being made operational by including a clause for transfer of technology in the future agreements for locos procurement. Tenders for the procurement of 20 more locomotives, each of 2000-2500 horsepower capacity, were being called. Two locomotives would be in the CBU form while the remaining 18 would be assembled at the Risalpur factory, said the minister.
The PR would require $10 billion to $12 billion to become one of the modern railways of the region. The amount would be spent to revamp all the dilapidated infrastructure.
The assistance of $3.69 billion under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would only help in upgrading the Karachi-Peshawar main line. “Efforts are under way to get financial assistance from other countries to upgrade infrastructure on other main lines on Build-Operate-Transfer basis. Branch lines would be upgraded afterwards, he said.
Mr Rafique said that a three-member committee would be constituted on Monday (June 22) to formulate service structure of railways’ employees in BS-1 to BS-16.
Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2015