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Post-coronavirus lockdown: Pakistan Railways resumes operations

Only 30 up and down trains chugging between four provinces

Waqas Ahmed May 20, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Railways is resuming limited train operations from today (Wednesday) after easing of the two-month-long restrictions, which were imposed to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading in the country.

According to the sources, the lockdown caused the railways a loss of Rs10 billion in two months while 10.26 million passengers were affected by the measure, making achieving the annual financial target of Rs58 billion a far-fetched dream.

After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s approval, limited train operations will resume from today under which 30 up and down trains will run between the four provinces.

The sources said that Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed will conduct a survey of the resumption of train operations at the Rawalpindi Railway Station.

They said that the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country has aggravated the problems of the Pakistan Railways, which is already under severe financial crisis.

“The suspension of passenger trains caused a loss of Rs6 billion, while that of freight trains Rs4.10 billion to the Pakistan Railways.”

Separately, the railways' minister and Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Matsuda Kuninori held a meeting at the railways' ministry on Tuesday.

Ambassador Kuninori expressed the desire of his country’s railway companies to invest in Pakistan Railways.

Rashid welcomed the Japanese railway companies’ offer to invest in the Pakistan Railways, saying it will not only help modernise the system but also improve the services of the department.

“Japan Railways is one of the best in the world and their partnership with Pakistan Railways will prove beneficial,” the railways' minister said. “These firms will provide technical support and railway safety assistance,” Kuninori added.

Both the officials discussed development projects of Pakistan Railways and measures being followed to stop coronavirus from spreading.

The railways' minister thanked the government of Japan for extending financial support and providing testing kits to Pakistan to combat Covid-19.

Rashid informed that Pakistan had restored limited passenger train operations in the country so that the masses could celebrate their Eidul Fitr in their native towns without any difficulty.

The minister said that the passengers have been advised to follow the standard operating procedures while travelling in trains for their won as well as other safety.

(With input from APP)


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