LAHORE: Pakistan Railways (PR) will get 230 high-speed passenger coaches manufactured in association with international firms to provide comfortable traveling to passengers and overcome shortage of the rolling stock.

The PR has already floated international tenders to buy 820 freight wagons, Dawn has learned.

“The project cost to buy 230 passenger coaches and 820 freight/goods wagons is over Rs30 billion,” a senior officer told Dawn. “This includes over Rs20 billion and Rs10 billion allocated under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for coaches and wagons.”

The project would be completed in three phases. “It is a project being executed under the ToT (Transfer of Technology) mechanism,” he said.

Under the plan, the PR will buy 230 high-speed passenger coaches having air spring and other modern systems from international companies.

Since the maximum speed has been specified as 160km per hour, 46 of the 230 coaches would be fully manufactured by the firms in their own country. Likewise, companies would partially manufacture 92 coaches at their home countries and remaining portions at the PR carriage factory in Islamabad.

However, the remaining 92 coaches would be fully assembled in Pakistan as the firms would be responsible for transporting the parts of 92 coaches to the PR factory and get them assembled in collaboration with local workers and engineers.

“This arrangement will save the cost and will also build the capacity of the local workers and engineers. The PR may also use locally produced raw material in assembling coaches here at its factory,” the officer maintained.

The freight wagons procurement would be done in three phases. In the first phase, 10 percent of the wagons would be manufactured by the firms in their own country.

“If the ToT project is executed successfully, it would enable the PR to do such further jobs on its own in Pakistan which would save money and create jobs for the locals,” he explained.

The PR is using 1970 model coaches (total about 2,200), manufactured by Germany. It continued manufacturing this model coaches till 1989. Later, it did not buy new coaches till 2002 and kept focusing on refurbishing the same 1970 model coaches. However, the PR procured 175 coaches from an international firm in 2002 and another 200 in 2009.

“The 15 coaches provided for the partial operation of old Karachi Circular Railway were also refurbished by the PR,” the official said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the PR said in a press release the 230 passenger coaches would include 80 air-conditioned standard, 30 parlor cars, 80 economy class and 20 each luggage and brake vans.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2020

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