KARACHI, Aug 15: Sindh Governor Mohammadmian Soomro has said that “the introduction of (the) “Karakoram Express” was the need of the day,” while inaugurating the start of this express train composed of Chinese-made lower air-conditioned coaches at a ceremony held at Cantonment station on Thursday.

He noted that extra facilities have been provided in this train at a very economical fare.

He observed that the railway’s, which were a very stable institution in the 1970s, went astray because of rampant corruption and misuse. The governor pointed out that the Pakistan Railway’s (PR) had been the oldest mode of mass transport, and that its services were of great value to the general public.

He said that the federal railway’s minister, the secretary and the General Manager Iqbal Samad have tried their best to develop the existing infrastructure and to revive the railways’ past efficiency.

The governor said that with the replacement of the existing trains, service will improve and travel time will be cut down.

He was confident that the addition of more trains comprising “Chinese coaches” in the present fleet of the PR will go a long way in improving the institution.

Soomro said that the introduction of this train will further strengthen the strong ties existing between Pakistan and China.

Earlier, the GM PR said that presently, this train comprises of 12 coaches, while 14 coaches had arrived from China, and that another 26 will be arriving around December of this year.

Pointing out that the total package was for 175 coaches, the GM said that the remaining 135 coaches will be manufactured and built at the railway’s Islamabad carriage factory with the help of Chinese technicians and engineers.

Giving out the salient features of the train, Samad said that each coach had nine cubicles with six berths in each, besides 16 seats in the aisle.

He said a total of 70 passengers will be travelling in each coach and that the entire train will thus carry 700 passengers.

As for the fare, he said that it would be Rs 1495 for a berth, and Rs 995 for a seat. The new technology, he said, enables a speed of up to 140 kmph, whereas previous coaches were designed for travel at 120 kmph.

He informed that during a short trial run between Padidan and Mehrabpur, the train did 138 kmph. — APP

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