Comfort & style: First business train chugs its way out of Lahore

Published: February 4, 2012

Passengers sit in a newly launched Pak Business Express train prior to departure from Lahore. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: Pakistan’s first-ever business train – with trappings of luxury, comfort and style – made its debut journey from the Lahore city station to Karachi on Friday even as Pakistan Railways struggles to chug out of cash crunch.

“The Pakistan business train is a landmark public-private venture and following this formula, the railways can work its way out of the financial crisis,” Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said while inaugurating the service.

The luxury service – complete with flatscreen TVs, wifi and lavatories that would put some British trains to shame – was launched in an effort to turn around the dire fortunes of Pakistan railways, and restore it to its former colonial glory, a daily Telegraph report said.

With a hoot and then a lurch, the 15:30 to Karachi pulled out of Lahore’s railway station bang on time and trailing tinsel.

The train is a joint venture of Pakistan Railways and a private company called MS Four Brothers.

The prime minister said that public-private partnerships had become a necessity in order to revive the country’s ailing economy.

The train will simultaneously leave stations in Lahore and Karachi at 3:30pm daily and reach its destination in 18 hours, including technical stopovers at Khanewal in Punjab and Rohri in Sindh. Journeying time is later to be reduced to 15 hours.

Along with an internet service, a paramedical staff of Rescue 1122 will also be available for passengers. A one-way ticket’s fare is Rs5,000 while a discount of Rs1,000 will be provided on round-trip bookings.

The private company has invested Rs225 million and will pay the railways around Rs1.5 million per trip and Rs1.148 billion per annum. An agreement has been signed for five years which is extendable to up to 10 years.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2012.

Reader Comments (17)

  • shehryar khan
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:46AM

    First i want to say thanks of pakistani Govt to introduce luxury and comfortable train in pakistan. but as a middle level pakistani i cant support this train ticket. because the Dawoo ticket is 3500 khi to pesh then why i paid 5000 from khi to lahhore. but the jouerny is same

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 11:17AM

    Pakistan railways can servive and move towards the international standerds if the entire set up is privatsed . I personally appreciate the iniciative and wish big success

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  • Amjab Mushtaq
    Feb 4, 2012 - 11:45AM

    Ive heard such a good news after such a long time….Gud Luck Pak Business Express !!

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  • Athar
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:22PM

    Too Expensive for middle class. Daewoo is cheaper, but never the less a good start. Lets pray for PR.

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  • Xnain
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:39PM

    @shehryar khan:
    You’re not expected to get such facilities in air travel, let alone daewoo. Even in usual situations I prefer Train over Daewoo cuz AC class in express trains cost around 3300 from Karachi to Lahore but I can sleep on birth, something which i cant do in daewoo. I had only one experience of coming to Karachi by Daewoo, and that was my last one as well. Daewoo is good only for journeys upto 3 or 4 hours. Above it, Railway Rocks!

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  • Hussain
    Feb 4, 2012 - 4:13PM

    @Ghazi Saud Perwez:

    Dear Mr. Ghazi,

    I agree with you. The corruption and thefts at all levels has reduced Pakistan railways to a scrap yard. Those vested interests have already started to criticize and derail this project.
    God bless our people.

    Husain,
    Lahore

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  • Siddiq khan
    Feb 4, 2012 - 4:29PM

    According to me as i had traveled a lot n Daewoo, In fact this train is much better then Daewoo but hope for its low cost.

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  • Ali Khan
    Feb 4, 2012 - 4:47PM

    It is a wonderful step and project positive image overseas inverters. I was surprised to visit that nothing has been mentioned on the Pakrail website about this launch.

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  • mumtaz ali rind
    Feb 4, 2012 - 5:28PM

    @Ghazi Saud Perwez:
    thanks govt of pakistan and pakistan railway

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 7:01PM

    Too expensive to face the expenditures .
    it is not for working class,but inspite of it
    a good news which delighted people of Pakistan.

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  • Khalid Saif
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:08PM

    I think more private companies should be invited to run private trains and Railways should only maintain track and other infrastructure like Civil Aviation Authority maintains airports. This will ensure healthy competition and common public will benefit. Quality will improve and prices will reduce ultimately.

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  • Khalid Saif
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:09PM

    I think more private companies should be invited to run private trains and Railways should only maintain track and other infrastructure like Civil Aviation Authority maintains airports. This will ensure healthy competition and common public will benefit. Quality will improve and prices will reduce ultimately.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:50PM

    Well, now i know why pakistan railway was failing, it was because of this train……….why they can’t fix old trains and made them operational instead of bringing new trains with fare of 5k………..middle-class is no where now…….there is only lower class and upper class now…………bringing new train with a label of BUSINESS is doing no good, and its not PR who needs to be appreciated it is that business group who come forward……….Balour has ruined PR and now taking credit of this…………..it is better to fix old ones instead of bringing new ones with high price tags………..same services can be offered in low fares as well if there is no corruption…………….

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  • Siddh
    Feb 5, 2012 - 5:30PM

    Lets hope the tickets dont shoot up to 9,000 one-way and out of reach of normal class

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  • Irtiza
    Feb 6, 2012 - 8:39AM

    @Athar: Lahore – Karachi journey by Daewoo is very tiring, specially if one is travelling with family. In Daewoo, one does not have the luxury of sleeping on berths and on the other hand their terminals in Sindh are pathetic.

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  • Irtiza
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:26AM

    @Athar: Lahore-Karachi journey by Daewoo is too tiring specially if you are travelling with family. In train you have the luxury of sleeping on berths.

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  • umar
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:08PM

    @Hasan: if you can afford it than please fly by plane… ohh wait that will cost 10000 for one way. and if that dont convince you go by the regular train or wait that will take forever and break down due to corruption of the labour over there. as they are one of the reason the rail have failed along with upper management. so having this train is miracle for us who would love to travel by train once more. or why not travel by bus or even local bus since that what i believe you can afford.
    and for fixing i am all for it, even after that they labour would make issue and have the system fail again as before.

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