KP to be connected with other provinces through train service

KP to be connected with other provinces through train service

PESHAWAR: The Federal Government's plan to provide quality and improved travelling facilities to people of Khyber Pakthunkhwa and FATA on affordable prices has proved very successful as Pakistan Railways is starting Jaffar Express Train service from Peshawar to Quetta to promote regional connectivity and national unity.

Pakistan Railways is all set to start Jaffar Express train service from Peshawar to Quetta from Saturday (April 15, 2017) in line with the commitment of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to bring people of all four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir closer through an excellent and improved communication infrastructure and railways' network.

Jaffar Express, which is currently running between Rawalpindi and Quetta will formally depart at 5:30am on Saturday from Peshawar and would reach Quetta about 1400 hours next day in 34 hours after passing through various important cities and towns like Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan and Rohri.

Muhammad Ikram Khan Niazi, Deputy Controller Traffic Pakistan Railways

Peshawar division told APP that all arrangements have been completed for inaugural function of Jafar Express Train, being the first of its kind that would run across all provinces after its inauguration.

"The department feels very happy after watching the overwhelming response of the passengers approaching to get tickets and proper seats in Jaffar Express, and majority of the seats have already been booked," he said.

"Its fare is very nominal. Rs 1870 will be charged from each passenger intending to travel in Economy Class, Rs 4470 for standard class and Rs 4970 for business class," he said, adding the it would be purely a passengers train service, and that 800 passengers could travel in it at one time.

"I am very happy to hear that Pakistan Railways is starting Jaffar Expressway service from Peshawar as it will save our time viz a viz money as we have to go Rawalpindi earlier to avail the service for Quetta," said Khurshid Khan, a Resident of Nowshera with tourism as hobby .

"Me and my family are planning to book seats in Jaffar Express as we will soon depart for Quetta for tourism purposes besides watching Ziarat Residency where Father of the Nation Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had spent last days of his life," Khan said wearing a broad smile.

"Jaffar Express is another accomplishment of PMLN Government to improve services for people of KP for which the Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Railways deserve appreciation," he said.

Muhammad Hanif Gul, Divisional Superintendent (DS) Pakistan Railways Peshawar told APP that Jaffar express was a quality addition in train service for Khyber Pakthunkhwa as hundreds of thousands of passengers would be facilitated.

He said Online ticket system has been started and passengers seeking tickets of Jaffar Express and Green-line trains can obtain it through accessing PRs' website.

He said, Jaffar Express would help generate significant revenue for Pakistan Railways from KP.

He said Federal Government's consistent plans and focused strategies for revival of Pakistan Railways (PRs) have remarkably helped improve punctuality of trains, up-gradation of tracks and revenue of this public sector entity.

Under CPEC, he said the main Peshawar-Karachi railways' track would be upgraded and revamped to provide speedy and safe service to the passengers, adding with up-gradation of Peshawar-Karachi track, the trains' speed would reach up to 160 kilometers per hour beside generating more revenue from freight service.

To improve freight service, he said 58 locomotives were obtained from brotherly country China to supply coal for power plants in the country, adding "We can earn additional Rs 4 to 5 billion by using freight trains service for transportation of coal from Sahiwal and Jamshuro and this will take the Railways' earnings to new heights after the start of coal transportation as the work on different coal power plants continues with fast pace.

The DS said Green-line Train service that runs between Rawalpindi and Karachi proves highly successful and Pakistan Railways has the plan to extend this service to Peshawar in future as well.

Gul said he held important meetings with high authorities of KP Government including Chief Minister KP in connection with circular railways track under Greater Peshawar Commuters Project and offered full technical support to him.

He said 200 kilometers track would be laid between Peshawar-Nowshera-Mardan and Charssada that would not only counter problem of urbanization pressure on Peshawar but provide quality services to employees and people of above districts without shifting to Peshawar.

"The CM KP has desired operationalization of the circular railway project before general election and this dream of him can be materialized by making investment in this sector for which Pakistan Railways is ready to provide all technical support to KP Government."

Gul said that stations, waiting rooms, restaurants and dining rooms to facilitate passengers have been built and older facilities have renovated.

He said railways has an immense potential to be developed as the state-of-the-art mode of transportation within the country and to promote regional trade and passenger transportation among neighboring countries like Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Middle East.

Upgradation of Peshawar-Pindi track, construction of circular railways track in Peshawar division were in pipeline, saying work on Azakhel dry-port in Nowshera was also in progress and would be operationalized by end of 2017.

This positive turn-around has been achieved due to renovation and reconditioning of obsolete engines and launching of cargo trains. The induction of new locomotives, increase in cargo trains and other positive steps have improved the financial health of the department

These projects on completion would make KP more accessible to local and international markets through seaports and Gwadar thus bringing economic prosperity in lives of the local people. (APP)