KARACHI: The 46 fully-furnished high-speed train coaches, or complete units, received from China last week experienced their first test run on Thursday from Karachi’s Cantonment railway station to Rohri station.
The coaches, designed to run on local tracks at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour, were pulled at a much lower speed of 120km/hr and even lesser to test their movement, brakes etc in the trial run.
The coaches are supposed to make travel more comfortable and safe while helping Pakistan Railways to improve its services. It is said that after the trial, the coaches will be added to the Green Line that will run between Islamabad’s Margalla Station and Karachi in December only.
The Chinese coaches are painted in PR’s traditional green colour from the outside. The interior of the various coaches has air-conditioning and heating systems. Some coaches are meant for the economy class and some others for parlour with nice comfortable seats.
Besides luggage cars, there is extra space within the coaches in the shape of racks for hand-carry luggage. Provision of dining car and more kitchens and kitchenettes is available in the coaches, too.
If the AC coaches had purple and blue seats and bunks, the parlour coaches have burgundy and pink seats with plenty of legroom, folding tables. There are LED screens fixed on the back of each headrest to help passengers beat boredom during their journey. From inside, the coaches look more like the business class of a luxurious passenger aircraft.
Speaking to Dawn, the train driver, Safeer Ahmed, said: “Actually, it is also a test of our rail tracks. If the tracks can take it, we should be moving at 160kms per hour”.
His assistant, Raza Ahmed, hoped that the new coaches would also open the way for more improvement in the PR infrastructure. “Hopefully, we will also have new tracks soon to enable PR to run bullet trains as well,” he said.
As per the contract with the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRRC) Tangshan Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company, there are going to be 230 high-speed coaches to be supplied to Pakistan. Out of them, these are only the first 46. The remaining 184 coaches will be manufactured Pakistan Railways engineers and technical staff under the supervision of Chinese experts.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022