ISLAMABAD - National Railway Administration of China (NRAC) and the Ministry of Railways Pakistan have undertaken initial work for working on Pakistan Railways’ Mainline 1 (ML-1) that is an early harvest project of CPEC.
According to the NRAC’s sources here, the project cost of $8.176 billion for rehabilitation and up-gradation of the Karachi-Lahore Peshawar (ML-1) Railway Track, with a length of 1,872kms. The first phase of $3.2 billion covers up-gradation of four segments.
The upgrade will bring the long-needed attention to railway transportation, which has deteriorated significantly over the past few decades. The Pakistan Railways carried over 70% of the national freight load in the 1970s, which now stands at a meagre 4%. Reportedly, the Pakistan Railways expects that this would grow to 20% after completion of this project with freight traffic increasing from five to 25 million tonnes per annum by 2025. The passenger traffic is also expected to increase by 45% (from 55 to 80 million passengers per annum).
Meanwhile, a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics said that China’s “four vertical and four horizontal high-speed railway network” has almost been completed, making China the world’s first country with a complete high-speed rail network in operation. The report said that China’s total railway line mileage reached 127,000 kilometers by the end of 2017, up 145.6 percent from 1978, with an average annual growth of 2.3 percent.
The distance of China’s high-speed rail hit 25,200 kilometers, topping the global chart. The figure for electrified railways and double-track rail in China is currently 86,600 and 71,800 kilometers, accounting for 68.2 percent and 56.5 percent of the country’s total railway mileage, ranking first and second in the world respectively, according to the report.