KARACHI: After a five-week hiatus, train service between Karachi and Peshawar resumes on Sunday (today), with Rahman Baba Express being the first passenger train to leave the Karachi Cantt station at around 10am, followed by Khyber Mail.

Their departure will mark gradual restoration of rail link of country’s south with north, which had been disconnected due to the devastation caused by monsoon rains and flash floods in recent months.

While several areas of Khairpur, Dadu, Sehwan, Jamshoro, Badin, Tando Jam Mohammad and Juddo in Sindh are still inundated, a meeting presided over by federal Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique decided to gradually restore train services after reviewing reports on receding floodwaters from tracks and necessary repairs.

The operations were suspended at various sections after the flash floods washed away the tracks between Rohri-Tando Adam, Paddidan-Bhiria, Daur-Bandhi and Bocheri-Nawabshah sections and Nawabshah yard on Aug 21.

Rahman Baba Express, Khyber Mail to leave port city days before restoration of Karakoram Express, Pak Business Express and Karachi Express operations

Similarly, the Sibbi-Quetta and Dalbandin-Quetta, Kotri-Dadu near Sehwan Sharif and Habib Kot-Sibi and Dera Murad Jamali and Jacobabad-Notal sections were also affected. Also, the signalling system at various spots became dysfunctional due to inundation and power outages.

From Karachi, the first train to leave at around 10am is Rahman Baba Express, which will reach Peshawar after making brief stops at Faisalabad, Wazirabad and Rawalpindi. The other train departing from the port city shortly afterwards will be the Khyber Mail, which will reach its final destination, Peshawar, via Sahiwal, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

On the Lahore-Karachi-Lahore sections, the operations of three more trains — Karakoram Express, Karachi Express and Pak Business Express — would be restored from Oct 5.

The railway authorities also decided that additional coaches could be attached to the five trains to facilitate maximum passengers. However, other trains will resume service only after successful operations of the five trains.

Hundreds of porters working at railway stations have been without work due to the suspension of the passenger train service between different cities caused by devastating floods since the last week of August.

Around 30 to 50 porters work at small stations and roughly 200 at major stations; however, owing to the suspension of the train service, all of them has been struggling to make ends meet.

Successful restoration of trains operations will not only benefit passengers but also hundreds of porters working at Karachi, Hyderabad, Rohri and other stations.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

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