Pakistan Railways operations go down to minimum

Passengers of express trains facing hours of delay.

Shahram Haq June 25, 2012

LAHORE: Pakistan Railways, which has been promised a bailout package in the federal budget for 2012-13, is still struggling to get back on feet as its operations have gone down to the bare minimum, leading to hours of delay in express trains.

Train operations in Lahore Division could not be resumed which were suspended in reaction to an attack on a train last week in which it was burnt by people protesting against power outages at Kamoki.

According to sources, 20 passenger trains are out of service, causing a loss of millions of rupees every day. Most of the locomotives, which were used to push these trains, have been parked for routine maintenance.

The railway has been left with a fleet of around 100 locomotives to run its entire operation, including 200 train and freight services.

In addition to this, the railway is continuously losing power vans which supply electricity in trains. According to Pakistan Railways spokesperson, out of a total of 68 power vans, only half are operating and the rest are parked at workshops for repair.

Sources say seating and water facilities are also unsatisfactory at railway platforms, forcing passengers, particularly women and the elderly, to sit on the ground and buy water bottles from stalls at high prices.

Passengers complain that all trains are pack to capacity, but still the management cries about losses. They also point out that trains often depart without filling water tanks and attaching power vans, and the locomotive usually fails during travel.

“It’s true that the railway is losing millions of rupees daily with the stoppage of many passenger trains, but this loss will be much less when compared to a situation in which we lose our coaches,” said the spokesperson of Pakistan Railways. In this regard, he cited last week’s incident in which the railway suffered a loss of around Rs180 million.

About the locomotives, he said these were either parked for routine maintenance or were being used for trains according to the schedule. “The situation is critical but we are trying to solve the issues. This will take time as we are still short of over 400 locomotives, which no doubt is a big number.”

He stressed that the railway was awaiting the release of the bailout package, most of which would be spent on repair and purchase of locomotives. However, he cautioned that the situation would not improve before eight months.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.


Naseer Qureshi | 10 years ago | Reply

PR's problem is messier than it looks from outside. The biggest cause of all problems endemic corruption on all levels. It takes "eight months" to fix all problems what a naive and ludicrous statement.

Ali tanoli | 10 years ago | Reply

@polpot hahahahahahaha i like it man they allready asking when no one want to travel on rail Kash we had Bihari bhia........

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