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ISLAMABAD: The feasibility study of a preliminary design of the first phase of the expansion and reconstruction of Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar railway track, known as the Main Line 1 project (ML1), an early harvest and a strategic project of CPEC framework, has been completed and is in the final stages of review process.

A delegation of China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) held a meeting with senior officials of the ministry of railways on Thursday to review the preparations to launch the project, which is an early harvest and a strategic project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistan is exploring with China to finance the project.

Headed by Mr Sun, head of CREC Pakistan mission, leading a consortium in terms of the framework agreement held talks with Chairman Ministry of Railways Muhammad Javed Anwar.

CREC holds a large share of the Chinese construction market and participates in many large-scale infrastructure projects overseas, especially in countries in Southeast Asia and Africa.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) at the Planning Commission has already approved the rehabilitation and up-gradation of Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar railway track project which will be completed by 2022.

The main line project involving 1872km railway track will be completed at a total cost of $8,172 million with the scope of doubling of entire track from Karachi to Peshawar; and speed of passenger trains will be raised from the current 65km to 110km per hour to 160km per hour, while freight trains will be operated at 120km per hour.

The entire track will have computer-based signalling and control system in addition to grade separation to ensure safety of train operations. The main line will cover Karachi to Peshawar via Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Rohri, Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Lahore, Gujran­wala, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018