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3rd private sector train to chug in January

LAHORE, Dec 23: The third passenger train under public-private partnership will start running between Punjab and Sindh capitals from the first week of January.

The Night Coach Express would cover the distance between Lahore and Karachi in 18 hours, said an official on Sunday.

Comprising one AC sleeper, two lower AC, seven economy class coaches, a dining car and a luggage van, the express train would be leaving Lahore at 6pm to reach Karachi at 12noon the next day.

The Night Coach Express would have stoppages at Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rohri, Nawabshah, Hyderabad and Karachi Cantt.

“The railways intend to enter into an agreement with M/s Air Rail Services on Dec 26, under which the PR will provide coaches, locomotives and staff -- drivers, firemen and conductor guards besides PR police personnel – to the private company which will be looking after tickets reservation and checking of the new train,” he said.

The company would be responsible for the provision of facilities to passengers on board the train. It would develop its infrastructure on the PR network exclusively for the passengers of the new train, said the official.

M/s Air Rail Services Director Rana Sakhawat said his company would pay Rs632 million annually or Rs1,731,308 daily to railways for the new train. In addition, the company would give Rs100 million to the railways for repair and rehabilitation of locomotives while during the next five years it would spend Rs81 million for the provision of facilities to commuters.

Company’s another director Malik Rafiq said the Night Coach Express would be the fastest train of the country and its fares would be economical than the PR-operated trains between Lahore and Karachi. Passengers getting their seats reserved in advance would get concession on the pattern of airlines’ tickets, he said.

cut in fareS: Passengers travelling by train in air-conditioned classes and non-stop routes between Lahore and Rawalpindi will get a concession in fares for two months from Jan 1 next year, according to a Pakistan Railways announcement.

Rail fares from Jan 1 to Feb 28 of AC Sleeper will be Rs800 instead of Rs840 per passenger and that of AC Standard Rs600 instead of Rs630 per passenger. The charges for Lahore-Rawalpindi non-stop (109-Up/110-Down) AC Sleeper would be Rs800 instead of Rs910 per passenger and that of AC Standard Rs600 instead of Rs690 per passenger.