KARACHI: The Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) coaches that were being manufactured at the combined freight international (CFI) carriage factory in Islamabad arrived at City Railway Station early on Monday.
There are 11 white- and blue-coloured coaches with a green and red stripe, which completely stand apart from the regular Pakistan Railways inter-city green trains, that have also arrived with two matching locomotives. The locomotives are part of General Motors Universal-15 (GMU-15) series 48.
City Railway Station superintendent Abdullah explained to Dawn the locomotives are to be attached to both ends of the train to help it move both ways.
The coaches all have white interiors and blue doors and seating. There are single as well as three-seat options in all the coaches for passengers.
“They also have big airy windows on either side as none of the coaches are going to be air-conditioned,” said Mr Abdullah, who felt proud to have witnessed a historic moment on Monday as the coaches arrived from Rawalpindi and were officially handed over to the City Station.
A partial operation of KCR from Pipri to Orangi stations will begin on Thursday
Each coach is having capacity for 100 passengers. Of them, 64 can travel while sitting and 36 can do it standing up in the aisle areas. For that there are handles in place, too.
The first phase of the KRC train operation is due to begin from Nov 19 (Thursday).
In the first phase, the trains will run along 60-kilometre distance from Pipri to Orangi stations with four trains in up and down directions. In other words there will be eight trains, with four leaving from Orangi and four from Pipri from morning to afternoon enabling the passengers to commute between Pipri and Orangi stations with a uniform gap of three hours.
Rs50 per travel fare
Every day, the first train will depart from Orangi station at 7am followed by subsequent departures at 10am, 1pm and 4pm. The departures will also be taking place from Pipri station.
The fare has been fixed at Rs50 per travel.
Soon after their arriving at the City Station, the new KCR coaches were taken to the station’s washing line.
“They may be new but they have travelled here all the way from Rawalpindi. We need to have them cleaned and spick and span before Thursday,” said Mr Abdullah. “Basically, all trains are sent to the washing lines after arrival and ahead of their next departure,” he explained.
Security in the KCR trains will be handled by the Railway Police. A constable said that he has never travelled by the local train.
“I was very young when the local trains stopped running here. But I have heard about them from my father and grandfather, both of whom were also with the Railway Police. They used to take the local to get anywhere in the city. Their other means of transport was a bicycle. They never travelled by bus, taxi or rickshaw although I have only used the latter means of transport for personal use,” he said.
He added that he was as excited to see the KCR back on track as any other citizen of Karachi.
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2020