KARACHI: Pakistan Railways (PR) on Friday started the second dedicated freight train service for Lahore under the public-private partnership.
Inaugurating the train service, a joint project of PR and Marine Group of Companies, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed announced running of 20 freight and passenger trains by the end of the current year.
According to the minister, the National Logistics Cell along with two Dubai-based firms and a company from Karachi have shown keen interest in running freight trains.
In addition, two VIP trains will also be introduced, with the first train starting from Mar 23, he said. He further announced that PR’s freight head office will be shifted to Karachi from Lahore.
The minister disclosed that investment worth billions of dollars was coming to railways soon. There would be a revolution through Main Line-1 (ML-1) project which is meant to replace existing tracks from Karachi to Peshawar, he said, adding: “After the completion of ML-1, trains would be run on that track at a speed of 160 per kilometre.”
The minister said Railways saved one million litres of diesel and recorded a growth of eight per cent in passenger traffic during the last four months.
He said that new tracks would be laid down across Sindh as major train services are running overcapacity by up to 160pc.
The minister went on to add that all steel mills could be engaged into useful production activity if all tracks were manufactured locally.
Expressing apprehensions over the pace of work on Karachi Circular Railways, the minister said that he was keen to see the project through to facilitate the people of Karachi.
Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2019