Pakistan Railways aim for 260 KPH train service with Lahore Karachi time travel reducing to 7 hours

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Pakistan Railways aim for 260 KPH train service with Lahore Karachi time travel reducing to 7 hours

FAISALABAD - Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Tuesday said 20 more VIP passenger trains would also start soon. A tendering process was being initiated to upgrade 1,680km long track of ML-2 and ML-4 in addition to dualization of the Faisalabad-Lahore and Sialkot tracks, he added. Addressing the business community at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) here, Sheikh Rashid said that previous rulers had pushed the economy at the verge of collapse. He added that:"We all are aware of the fact that a strong economy is imperative for defence and independent foreign policy". He said the present government had put the country in the right direction but it had to take bold and difficult decisions. The minister said the FCCI was the first platform that had realised the importance of economic stability and appreciated the decisions taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Asad Umar. Sheikh Rashid said that former rulers spent 2 billion dollars to launch only 27km long orange line train. It was a luxurious spending as with this amount he could lay new track throughout Pakistan. Regarding the financial affairs of the Railway, he said that Rs 35 billion were required to pay pensions, Rs 31 billion for salaries, Rs18 billion for oil and Rs 25 billion to pay the loan installments. "We have to repair the old and abandoned bogies to start 20 new trains. Now we are planning to launch yet another 20 new VIP and high-speed passenger trains," he added. He said that Pakistan Railway could start high speed trains with a speed of 160km per hour after the completion of ML-1. The speed of these trains could be enhanced up to 260km per hour in later phase. He added that the travel between Lahore-Karachi would be possible only within 6-7 hours. The minister said all over the world, passenger trains were not run for income generation but freight trains were meant for earning profit. He added that" Pakistan is the only country where we are earning a handsome profit of Rs 2 billion from the passenger trains". He said Mohenjo-Daro Train was running successfully with the occupancy of 160 per cent. Similarly, the occupancy of Rehman Baba Train was 150 per cent. He said that a new VIP 'Jinnah Train' would be launched between Lahore and Karachi from March 23. "We are also planning to start 'Sir Syed Train' which could be run between Faisalabad and Karachi," he added. He also assured of starting more trains from Faisalabad and said that local investors could start these trains by paying advance fare of 10 days only. The minister said the private sector could also run trains by paying a reasonable rent for the track to Pakistan Railways. He added that recently two private trains had been started from Lahore and such trains could also be launched from Faisalabad on the same terms and conditions. He assured of resolving problems being confronted by the Faisalabad Dry Port (FDP). Responding to another question, he said the Pakistan Railways was planning to start online booking system to redress alleged misappropriation in the booking of passenger trains. Earlier, paying best tributes to the Kashmiri people, he said that they were fighting for their fundamental right to self-determination for the last 70 years.

He added that Pakistani nation was with them and paid them the best tributes for their struggle for an independent homeland. Earlier, a one-minute silence was observed to pay tributes to Kashmir martyrs in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day. The meeting was also addressed by former minister Chaudhry Mushtaq Ali Cheema, Chairman FDP, while a question-answer session was also held. Meanwhile, the minister also visited railway station and Faisalabad Dry Port.