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Pakistan Railways needs help

November 16, 2012

ACCORDING to a Dawn report (Nov 11), Pakistan Railways had 821 locomotives in 1948, it now has 528. The rest of the data on the Railways is equally depressing. The writer also says that only 140 locomotives out of the 528 are functional.

Does it require any more data to pinpoint the issues being faced by the Pakistan Railways today?

The report points out that the Pakistan Railways has three American brand engines from G.E, Alco, GM; then they have Hitachi from Japan, Adtranz from Germany and of Chinese make.

The writer also talks about issues faced by the Pakistan Railways in almost all these designs. Does this mean that American, German, and Chinese engines have faulty designs or Pakistan Railways engineers have some basic issues of their own?

Railway engines are like any other diesel engine, the only difference is their size.

A diesel engine needs constant supply of oil, cooling water circulation in engine bodies and timely replacement of air, oil and fuel filters. If only this part is done, 90 per cent of the maintenance work is completed.

During planned maintenance different components are cleaned, inspected, re-calibrated and replaced if required. It seems that these basic activities are not being done.

Diesel engine driven flat bed trucks operating at Karachi Port are 50s and 60s model.

Their poor owners maintain these machines in great working conditions. The spares for these old models are no longer available therefore they are scavenged from other types and models. Using their ingenious and innovative minds, they also use parts available in Shershah scrap market to good use.

Railway engineers should share notes with these heroes of Pakistan and ask for ideas to scavenge parts from the 288 idle engines that are rotting away.

I would even go ahead and hire them as consultants. Bringing more engines on the tracks will resolve most of Railway woes, rest will fall into place automatically.