The railway stations and the tracks of Karachi
Circular Railways (KCR), presenting a deserted look for over 8 years,
are likely to experience the hustle bustle of the commuters once again
as the system is being given a new life at the behest of the federal
The authorities responsible for running the KCR were
compelled to wind up the circular railway operations in Karachi due to
economic reasons. The trains both for up and down journey were running
empty as the passengers were avoiding travelling by the circular
railways due to various reasons. The city was in the grip of worst kind
of law and order situation. Merciless killings all around the city had
become a common phenomenon. The train facility was availed only during
day hours while the trains were running empty during odd hours.
Apart from the law and order situation, the schedules
for running the trains were also not matching to the fast living style
of the metropolis. People had to kill their precious hours at the
stations just to catch the train. The far off locations of the railway
stations from the main roads were another drawback of the system. In the
absence of any shuttle bus service, the commuters had to walk for long
distances to reach their destinations or to the main roads for onward
travelling through the buses. Although the system was called as circular
railway, yet it was not designed to circulate around the city. The
tracks were laid horizontally from Landhi to Wazir Mansion while the
vast majority living in travels vertically from North Karachi to Merry
Weather Tower. All these factors resulted in making the KCR a
non-profitable organization. The losses were running in millions. All
these factors had left any interest either for the commuters or the
organizers. Hence, this very important means of travelling was closed
The Chairman Pakistan Railways Board while talking to
PAGE sometimes back had said that Pakistan Railways has not
interest in revival of the KCR and asked the provincial government to
take its own decision whether to run it or not. However, the federal
government, which believes in the significance of the modernized and
effective communication system for the economic growth of the country,
has issued directives for the revival of the KCR.
In order to take a lesson from the past, it is
suggested that all those factors responsible for closure of the KCR be
avoided in the system.
Transport is a chronic problem faced by this city of
distances. The transport Mafia while taking advantage of the absence of
any mass transit facility in town is making hay with its both hands. The
transporters are not only extorting money but also unfortunately
handling the commuters like a herd.
They treat the commuters as a ticket and not the
fellow citizen, whether they are children, women or the senior citizens.
A genuinely efficient circular railway system
extending travelling facility to the commuters from all corners of the
town is the need of the hour. This mass transit facility is also vitally
important to reduce the ever growing congestion and the smoke pollution
all around the city.
According to revival plan, the first phase of the
project would take three years to complete at an estimated cost of Rs20
billion. Phase one of the project should be implemented immediately and
ought to be completed in 3 years at a cost of Rs12 billion.
The consultants have recommended that the dual track
for the KCR should take place along with the construction of the
infrastructure in phase-1. The first phase will also include supply of
locomotives, bogies and the development of the railway stations.
A bus shuttle service will also be linked with each
KCR station. Initially, the KCR service will start from Drigh Colony to
Karachi Cantt. Station via Nazimabad and Wazir Mansion in the first
The second phase envisages extension of the circular
railway to low income areas. It was suggested that the circular railway
system should be connected to the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport,
Orangi Town, New Karachi, Surjani Town, Baloch Colony, Landhi and
Phase-2 of this project is to be completed at an
estimated cost of Rs8 billion in which entire system would be
The fares being considered for the feasibility are
Rs5 for 10 km, Rs10 for 10-20 km, and Rs15 for a journey between 20 to
The federal government has also considered that an
effective commuting system for the convenience of city commuters is of
vital importance. It is suggested that in most of world metropolitan
city arrangements and management of a commuter train system is
responsibility of the metropolitan and provincial authority instead of
running by the national railways.
The consultants said that locomotives and other
equipment with the railways at present are not suitable for any urban
mass transit programme, as the world over mostly diesel multiple units
with attachments are used for running the urban transport.
The present government, it may be noted, taking
special interest in developing a sound and effective communication
infrastructure which includes construction of new roads, highways and
complete overhauling of the railway system in Pakistan.