Restoration of freight trains ordered

Quetta-Taftan track expected to be restored within two weeks


BILAL GHAURI September 20, 2022
PHOTO: Express

LAHORE:

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has issued instructions to fully restore the freight operations on the railway track ML-1 within five days.

The directions were given during a meeting the railways minister held on Monday to review the maintenance of ML-1, 2, and 3 tracks.

He directed the authorities to reduce the engineering restrictions on the Lahore-Karachi main railway line and assured them that the railway track will be restored as soon as the floodwater receded.

The officials concerned were also instructed to restore the Quetta-Taftan sections by the end of this month. Similarly, the minister directed to increase in the monthly number of freight trains on Quetta-Zahedan (international sections) from 5 to 15.

The railway track between Quetta-Taftan was suspended after a vital bridge collapsed due to unexpected monsoon rain and floods.

“As soon as customs clearance is done, coal should be lifted from Karachi, and freight charges should be rationalised according to the market,” the minister said during the meeting.

He directed that a transportation officer should be appointed permanently in Zahedan while effective delivery of relief goods from Turkey should be ensured.

"The rehabilitation and reconstruction work is in full swing in coordination with the district administration of Balochistan to restore the rail service in flood-affected areas," an official in the ministry of railways told APP while sharing the update on railway track restoration operations in flood-hit areas.

He said that the minister had directed the department to utilise all-out resources for the rehabilitation of railway tracks in Sindh, Balochistan and other affected parts of the country within the least possible duration.

The department had deployed technical bridge staff at various sections for the repair of the damaged bridges as the train operation would only be restored after the completion of repairing and construction work on the bridges, he added.

He said that the minister had also visited the flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan and the railways department briefed him that the railway track was damaged at 104 locations by the floodwater.

"Pakistan Railways suffered heavy financial losses in Balochistan due to flood as 11-kilometre railway track from Dera Allah Yar to Jacobabad was completely flooded, which made it difficult to operate train services in the affected area," he said.

He said that Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps and civil administration assisted the staff of Pakistan Railways to enhance the restoration of railway tracks in Balochistan and other provinces of the country.

The official said that Pakistan Railways was also directed to complete the ongoing survey of the affected installations on a war footing and speed up the rehabilitation process.

The official said that the technical and non-technical staff of the department was working in three shifts to restore the tracks once the floodwater recedes.

He said that in the remaining divisions, around seven to eight bridges were damaged due to which the train operations were suspended in the flood-hit areas.

Last week, the administration of Pakistan Railways had decided to close the booking of Lahore-Karachi trains till September 19 due to the accumulation of floodwater on the track. A notification in this regard was issued to all commercial officers across the country.

At present, more than 28 up and down trains were closed on the railway system.

Due to the condition of the track and the damaged signal system and bridges, train operations have come to a halt.

The department has lost more than Rs15 billion so far due to the closure of trains.

(With Inputs from APP)

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