Pakistan Railways decide to reinforce entire locomotive fleet
ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Railways is making all-out efforts to reinforce its fleet of locomotives and ply both passenger and freight trains on maximum routes to transform the organization into a vibrant and profit-earning entity. Currently, the railways has a fleet of total 460 locomotives, out of which 140 are non-functional due to their obsolete versions, an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP. He said the railways was pursing a prudent policy to attract more passengers and get increased freight business by extending a number of facilities to the public. Answering a question, the official said the Railways had upgraded around 52 kilometers (KMs) tracks during the last six months through indigenous resources to ensure safe and smooth journey to passengers. “No new railway tracks have been laid during the tenure of present Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government since August-2018 due to financial constraints,” he added. He said the Railways was planning to upgrade and replace Main Line (ML-1) from Karachi – Peshawar double track of 1681 KMs under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The official said that Pakistan Railways increased fares in order to reduce budget deficit which is growing day by day due to increase in salaries and pensions of employees. Moreover, the import bill of Railway had also increased due to value depreciation of rupee viz-a-viz dollar and the locomotive maintenance contract charges have also increased due to the same reason, he said. “The department has introduced twenty new trains in first 100 days of the government and all the trains are operating with above 70 percent capacity which increases up to 100 percent on weekends,” he said. He said that only one train Mianwali Express is operating on less than 70 percent of its capacity. The railway administration keeps an eye on all new trains and expects to reach a final decision on the viability of new trains in 90 days. To another question, the official said the first aid boxes and emergency medical facilities are available in passenger trains as well as at Railway Stations across the country. In this regard, he said that operational staff like Station Master, Assistant Station Master and Guard etc. have been trained about use of medicines available in first aid box and emergency kit for providing emergency medical services to the sick and injured passengers during the journey. He said that railway doctor is called from nearest next railway hospital to attend and examine the passenger in case of sudden sickness or emergency situation during the journey. The patient is admitted in the nearby hospital or allowed to continue journey after giving necessary medication, depending on the severity of illness, he added.