Pakistan Railways has issued orders to restore the railway track from Sama Satta Railway Station to Amroka Railway Station. However, the decision which is supposed to facilitate citizens is plagued by several issues, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Sources from Pakistan Railways said that the track will become operational from December 15. A notification has been issued to the authorities concerned, they added.
The railway track has previously been out of order for a number of years. However, due to public demand, PR has decided to restore operations from December 15, 2018. The train will depart Sama Satta Railway Station at 7am and will arrive at Amroka Railway Station at 5pm. The train will operate on alternate days and will have four economy coaches and a sleeper bogey for passengers.
During the journey, the train will make several stops at places such as Mandi Sadiq Ganj, Chistian and Bahawalnagar. However, the stations at these places are crumbling to the ground and lack basic facilities such as clean drinking water, waiting areas and platforms.
Further, encroachments have cropped up on the railway track while the track itself is deteriorating; trains cannot travel at a speed of more than 10 to 15 kilometres per hour.
As a result, the train journey will last for 10 hours and will cover a distance of 180 kilometres. In comparison, the journey by road takes three hours. Further, there are no railway crossings on this route. Where they have been constructed, there are no members of staff.
Despite these hurdles that exist, citizens have lauded the efforts of the government to restore the track.
Syed Imran Rizvi, a resident, stated that the service will make the journey easier and more convenient. Especially for those living in remote areas where methods of transport are an issue, he stated.
Jawad Anwar, a resident of Hasilpur, said that the service will allow him to commute easily.
Enthusiasm regarding the project aside, the government needs to improve the existing facilities and railway tracks so that the journey can be made easier and the duration can be reduced. This will allow the project to achieve what it originally set out to do which is facilitate residents by providing convenient and cheap transport facilities.
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