Preliminary design of ML-I to be finalized by March end: Sheikh Rashid

Preliminary design of ML-I to be finalized by March end: Sheikh Rashid

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Thursday said that the government has decided to finalize preliminary design for the up gradation of Main Line-I (ML-I) between Peshawar to Karachi (1877) by the end of this March.

It was agreed between Minister for Railways and Deputy Administrator, National Railway Administration, China An Lusheng in Video Conference on progress and review on ML-I, the Minister told APP. He said that conference was attended by senior officials of the ministry including Chairman and Secretary Sikandar Sultan Raja, Member Finance, Director General Planning and Director General Technical.

He said the formal signing ceremony will be held in the month of April during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China. Sheikh Rashid informed the Chinese counterpart that ML-I was most important project between two countries especially for Pakistan Railways for its revival and economic uplift of the area. He said that ML-I was the project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and estimated cost of the project and establishment of dry port near Havelian were $8.2 billion.

The scope of the project was induction of 50 locomotives, 300 passenger coaches and 2,000 freight wagons and up-gradation of Walton Training Academy, he said. With completion of ML-I, he said it will increase speed from 65-105 km/h to 160-220km/h, increase freight volumes from six to 35 tons per annum by 2025 and increase the railway’s share in freight transport from less than four percent to 20 percent.