Revamp of the Pakistan railways would be completed within the next 120 days. The proposal to introduce standard-gauge rail track in the country under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects is duly considered. Steps are under way to provide more facilities to rail passengers. In order to facilitate passengers with disabilities and the elderly, elevators would be installed at major Railway stations across the country.
The Railways administration has been directed to deal with other countries in their own currencies instead of dollar. All promotions will strictly be on merit. Pakistan Railways will overcome its deficit this year.
The state-owned entity will now seek private investment to upgrade its infrastructure and sort out land issues. Expenses of the public sector enterprise will also be reduced by 15 percent, and focus will be made on freight trains to increase revenue.
Railways currently faces a deficit of Rs37 billion as induction of new trains and high expenses take toll on the entity’s revenue. In order to increase revenue the number of freight trains will be increased by 20 percent. Railways’ outdated wagons will be auctioned.
Railways police will free up the encroached land (about 4,000 acres). Multi-story apartments for railways staff under Prime Minister’s initiative of providing 5 million low-income housing units.
The federal government requested to pay the pensions of Railways workers as the corporation is not in a position to pay billions of rupees annually. The up-gradation process of different railway stations is under way and 30 new stations will be upgraded soon. Rail plazas will be built on Railways land. There will be land for the construction of five five-star hotels.
The Railways was ready to give the tracks on rent and would also present 14,000 bridges for the purpose of marketing. The Railways Ministry faces a debt of Rs37-40 billion left behind by the government.
Many offers have been made for bringing bullet trains to the country by people. The first agenda would be to address the matter of the double track from Lahore to Peshawar. National Logistics Cell (NLC) and Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) in this regard have been contacted. The Ministry would not tolerate corruption and any political interference in the railways. The reasons behind the financial crisis of Pakistan Railway would be inspected and a thorough investigation would be conducted.
The Railway authorities had been directed to increase the number of cargo trains and bring a visible change in the Pakistan Railways by adopting the latest technologies and innovative techniques.
The Pakistan Railways would be strengthened so that it becomes financially stable. There is plan to upgrade 31 railway stations across Pakistan. The Railways would build 5,000 small apartments like quarters for grade-4 employees, make all-out efforts to double the track from Peshawar to Lahore under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and plant trees on both sides of the railway track with fencing.
The people who had illegally occupied land belonging to Pakistan Railways will be ordered to vacate it. The state-owned railways has been frustrated by years of little investment in infrastructure, poor maintenance of its rolling stock, frequent accidents, corruption, theft, laziness, mismanagement, and overstaffing, etc.
The Railways Minister’s plan appears to be quite feasible, but it may take several years and the investment of billions of rupees before it can bear fruit. Private investors may not invest in the Railways’ assets unless they are assured of the protection of their capital, because their experience of past dealings with the company has not been very much comfortable.
Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said no decision has been taken to increase rail fares. In order to facilitate passengers with disabilities and the elderly, elevators would be installed at major railway stations across the country. Online ticketing system would also be improved in near future.
China will help Pakistan revamp its colonial-era Railways. As part of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road trade initiative, China is set to upgrade a 1,163-miles track from Karachi to Peshawar near the Afghan border with an $8 billion loan to Pakistan. Beijing is set to upgrade a 1,163-miles track from Karachi to Peshawar near the Afghan border with an $8 billion loan to Pakistan. It is a part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road trade initiative, which includes $60 billion of badly-needed works financed in Pakistan.
To help ease increasing congestion in Pakistan’s second-largest city, a $1.6 billion metro-line in Lahore — funded by Chinese banks — is scheduled to open before this year’s vote. In total, Islamabad says it has rehabilitated more than 300 locomotives, over 1,000 passenger coaches, nearly 5,000 freight wagons and 31 stations.
Pakistan also purchased 75 high-powered locomotives last year in a $413.5 million deal with General Electric Co. In short Railways ambition to revamp will surely succeed if there is dedication and sincerity.