LAHORE: The Pakistan Railway has decided to rehabilitate 100 locomotives that have either completed their life or are about to complete their functional span, including the 15 top quality “Blue Tigers”, purchased from a leading US firm in 1996, Dawn has learnt.

“It is one of the best projects the PR is set to start executing in near future, as the Planning Commission has already approved this. Moreover, the federal government is also set to allocate adequate funds for this project in the annual budget 2020-21 under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP),” a senior official told Dawn on Sunday.

“In the phase-I [of the project], total 100 locomotives, including 15 of the total 30 Blue Tiger engines owned by the PR, will be rehabilitated according to the PC-1 of the project. In phase-II, the remaining 15 Blue Tiger engines would also be restored by revising the cost (Rs8 billion approximately) as mentioned in the PC-I,” the official requesting anonymity explained.

According to a document, related to the Blue Tiger engines, the PR had procured 30 AGE-30 diesel electric locomotives from General Electric (USA) and put them on track during 1996-1998. These locomotives have already completed their 20-year service life and are presently on books.

“PR intends to rehabilitate and modernise 15 out of the 30 locomotives to increase their service life for another 15 years. The diesel engines of these locomotives were originally manufactured by M/S GE, USA. It is planned to rehabilitate and modernise these 15 locomotives with re-manufactured diesel engines, Traction/Alternators, air compressors, new control cabinets with

microprocessor, rehabilitated bogies and cooling system to match with the newly rehabilitated assemblies/sub assemblies to meet the general requirements of the railways as per specifications,” reads the document.

It claims that the rehabilitation work and performance of (the rehabilitated and modernised) locomotives shall not be inferior to the existing locos as defined by the relevant clauses of the operation manual.

The official said among the 100 locomotives to be rehabilitated under the project phase-1, some had already been grounded, while others were still in use. “Among all the locomotives that have outlived their life span, the fleet of 30 Blue Tigers has proved to be the best in the PR history,” the official said.

According to another official source, the PR had earlier planned to rehabilitate all the engines that have outlived their functional life span under the public-private partnership or on the basis of Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) mechanism but no private firm showed interest in the job under BOT mode given the PR’s poor financial condition.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2020