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Railways engines failed 3,700 times since January 2015

Updated June 15, 2019

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The year 2015 was the worst as railways faced total 1,155 incidents of locomotives failure. — AFP/File
The year 2015 was the worst as railways faced total 1,155 incidents of locomotives failure. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways (PR) faced over 3,700 incidents of engine/locomotive failure in almost four and a half years (January 2015 to May 2019) on all of its routes with reasons including poor condition and lack of maintenance of locomotives either due lack of funds, technical staff or their training/capacity-building, Dawn has learnt.

According to a document, the year 2015 was the worst as railways faced total 1,155 incidents of locomotives failure, especially on the existing main line-1 (ML-1). As many as 1,032 such incidents were reported in 2016, keeping the officials concerned on their toes most of the time. The number of engine failure incidents decreased considerably in 2017 as the figure remained 791. Last year (2018), 634 engine failure events were reported while in the first five months of the ongoing year, 111 such incidents took place on various routes.

However, the railways controlled increasing number of locomotives’ failure over the years as such incidents reduced with induction of new engines and replacement of the old ones.

“In 2015, the situation was worst because the PR was in a dire need of the new locomotives. The then government had placed order of a number of new engines that considerably caused reduction in such incidents gradually,” an official source told Dawn.

“The PR continues to receive new locomotives every year in the wake of purchase agreements made in the past. Two months back, the PR received 20 new locomotives from a leading US company,” he added.

The official, who requested anonymity, claimed that the PR’s locomotives’ maintenance standard had also improved considerably with the passage of time. “Though there are problems but we have managed to improve everything gradually. It is evident with gradual reduction in the number of engine failure incidents,” he maintained.

According to another official, though the engines’ failure incidents are decreasing, the PR is in great trouble due to frequent derailments of trains.

“In recent months, dozens of derailment-related incidents were reported at the main and branch lines in the country due to paying less attention to rehabilitation of the tracks that require immediate rehabilitation at various stretches,” he explained.

The official said since it was the need of the hour to control derailments through rehabilitation of the track, the PR’s top authorities should only focus on this issue at the moment rather than looking into less important matters.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2019