Highly profitable freight train service of cash-strapped Pakistan Railways has come to a virtual halt as out of 156 working locomotives only six are operating on the only remaining freight train still carrying goods.
Sources told PPI that previously around 60% profits of PR was earned through its goods trains. Up to Rs10 million in revenue was earned daily from these goods trains. Around 15 trains used to be in operation and each had 65 to 72 bogies. However, only one goods train service is functioning at present causing millions of rupees worth losses to this important national organisation. In the past the service was high on the preference list of the business community and people in general as it was the cheapest mode to transport goods from one place to another. On the other hand, PR’s loss has became road network transporters’ gain as they have grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
When contacted the Deputy Divisional Superintendent Nisar Ahmed Khan admitted that PR is severely short on locomotives and said that there is only one goods train service left. He further said that the organisation has not received a single penny from the federal government out of the bailout package of Rs11.1 billion.
Chairman Pakistan Railways Worker’s Union Manzoor Ahmed Razi said that Rs600 million is needed to fix 142 repairable locomotives. The repair work can be done in any of the four workshops in Risalpura Station, Mughalpura, Karachi Cantonment or Rawalpindi. He also urged higher administration to rent 50 engines from India on urgent basis so that the performance of both freight train service and passenger service can be improved.
PR has 502 locomotives out of which only 156 are in working condition whereas 142 can be repaired. Experts say that most working locomotives are overloaded whereas only three or four traction motors are being used as opposed to the requirement of six, causing frequent engine failure.
They further say that PR needs 350 locomotives to run on full capacity.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2011.
More in BusinessThe week in focus