A journey into the past

The railway department needs to make an effort to improve the Bahawalnagar Express Train Project

Kashif Ansari January 03, 2011
One of my friends recently shared with me his experience of traveling on the local Bahawalnagar Express train – an account which I found to be quite interesting, but unfortunate at the same time. Interesting in the sense that taking the state of Pakistan railways into account, it seems like we are living in the 18th century and unfortunate because a tremendous opportunity to garner a considerable amount of profit is wasted by the negligence of the railway authorities.

Bahawalnagar Express starts from Samma Satta Junction (near Bahawalpur) and travels to Amrooka, via main cities of Hasilpur, Chistian, Bahawalnagar, Minchanabad and many other small towns. The total distance covered by this trail is almost 275 kilometres, and the total travel time (if the train is not delayed) is approximately five and a half hours. However, according to my friend, the traveling hours of the journey are almost eight to nine hours on a daily basis owing to delays, which have become routine. The total number of staff deployed on different stations on this track and on the train, is higher than the passengers travelling on the train, which means that the railways faces consistent losses.

The passengers in the area – which are thousands in number – prefer the local bus transport system due to its services and accurate timings. Another thing I was made aware of was that there are still no gates on railway crossings in many towns, which have caused countless accidents. The tracks, which were laid during the British Empire, need a lot of maintenance and repairs – a lack of which is the main cause of delays.

The railway department needs to step up and make an effort, even the slightest, to make the Bahawalnagar Express project rewarding and more importantly comfortable and convenient for the general public. They can easily attract thousands of passengers to use trains as a preferred mode of travel (as seen all over the world) by simply ensuring a safe, comfortable and punctual journey.

Kashif Ansari A reporter for the national and Lahore pages of The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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