|This article is outdated. (September 2015)|
|Departmental Undertaking of The Ministry of Railways, Government of Pakistan|
parking lot operations
other related services
|Revenue||PKR 25 Billion (2013-2014) |
|Owner||Government of Pakistan (100%)|
Number of employees
Pakistan Railways (reporting mark PR) (Urdu: پاکستان ریلویز ), formerly also known as the Pakistan Western Railway (reporting mark PWR) between 1947 to 1974, is the a national state-owned railway company of Pakistan. Founded in 1886 and headquartered in Lahore, it owns approximately 4,800 miles (7,791 km) of track all across Pakistan, stretching from Torkham to Karachi.
- 1 History
- 2 Controversies
- 3 Track gauge
- 4 Axle load limit
- 5 Speed
- 6 Information technology
- 7 Important railway lines
- 8 Routes
- 9 Traffic
- 10 Pakistan Locomotive Factory, Risalpur
- 11 Accidents
- 12 Developments
- 13 China-Pakistan links
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The idea of a rail network came in 1847, with the possibility of Karachi becoming a major seaport after large part of Sindh fell to British East India company by 1843. Sir Henry Edward Frere, who was appointed as the Commissioner of Sindh, sought permission from Lord Dalhousie to begin a survey for a Karachi seaport and a survey for a railway line in 1858. The railway line would be laid from Karachi to Kotri where a steamboat service (Indus Flotilla) on the Indus and Chenab rivers would connect Kotri to Multan; from Multan another railway line would be laid to Lahore and beyond.
On 13 May 1861, the first railway line was opened to the public, between Karachi and Kotri, with a length of 169 kilometres (105 mi). A Lahore-Multan 336 kilometres (209 mi) railway line was opened for traffic on 24 April 1865. On 6 October 1876 three bridges on the Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum rivers were completed and a Lahore-Jhelum railway line opened. On 1 July 1878 a Lodhran-Pano Akil 334 kilometres (208 mi) section was inaugurated.
By 1885, there were four railway companies operating in what would become Pakistan: Scinde (Sindh) Railways, Indus Flotilla Company, Punjab Railway and Delhi Railways. These were amalgamated into the Scinde, Punjab & Delhi Railways Company and purchased by the Secretary of State in 1885 and named North Western State Railway in January 1886. Later on it was renamed to North Western Railway (NWR).
In 1857 that William Andrew (Chairman of Scinde, Punjab and Delhi Railway) suggested that the railways to the Bolan Pass would have a role in responding to any threat by Russia. During the second Afghan War (1878–80) between Britain and Afghanistan, there was a need to construct a railway line up to Quetta in order to get easier access to the frontier. On 18 September 1879, under the orders of the Viceroyal council, work begun on laying the railway tracks, and after four months the first 215 km of line from Ruk to Sibi was completed; it became operational in January 1880. Beyond Sibi the terrain was very difficult. After immense difficulties and harsh weather conditions, it was March 1887 when the railway line, over 320 km long, finally reached Quetta.
On 27 October 1878 a Kotri-Sukkur railway line on west bank of Indus river was opened for traffic. The Lansdowne Bridge over the Indus connecting Rohri and Sukkur was inaugurated on 25 March 1889. The completion of the bridge connected Karachi with Peshawar by rail.
By 1898, as the network began to grow, a line was proposed from Peshawar to Karachi. It closely followed the route taken by Alexander the Great and his army while marching through the Hindu Kush to the Arabian Sea. During the early 20th century, railway lines were also laid down between Peshawar and Rawalpindi and Rawalpindi to Lahore. Sections on the existing main line from Peshawar and branch lines were constructed in the last quarter of the 19th century and the early 20th century.
In 1947 when Pakistan gained independence, 8,122 route kilometers (5,048 mi) of railway were transferred to Pakistan. Of this 6,880 route kilometers (4,280 mi) were 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in), 506 kilometres (314 mi) were 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in), and 736 kilometres (457 mi) were 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge. In 1954, the railway line was extended to Mardan and Charsada, and in 1956 the Jacobabad-Kashmore 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge line was converted into 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in). In 1974, the North Western Railways was renamed Pakistan Railways. The Kot Adu-Kashmore line was constructed between 1969 and 1973 providing an alternative route from Karachi to northern Pakistan. In February 2006 the Mirpur Khas-Khokhrapar 126 km metre gauge railway line was converted to Indian gauge.
Pakistan Railways has been the subject of a number of investigations by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan’s elite anti-corruption agency, after concerns were raised about contracts relating to the repair, upgrade and purchase of locomotives, unauthorised payments of more than Rs220 million from its accounts department, the disposal of scrap and the theft of consignments from cargo trains. In 2012 it was reported that these cases were being referred to the NAB for investigation by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
In March 2012 Pakistan Railways’ former General Manager was arrested by the NAB on charges of misuse of authority and alleged involvement in the misappropriation of Rs600 million, relating to the sale of scrap at a below market value rate. In 2002 a report was compiled by foreign investors about the assets of Pakistan Railways, which were estimated to be at USD 8 billion; but this figure was not confirmed by government of Pakistan. According to government sources it is worth more than this estimate. Former Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour was also involved in corruption and he has been named in a multi-billion rupee scrap scandal, which is being investigated by NAB. He was also alleged to have allotted railway dining cars to friends and party workers without tender. People have made allegations that he was destroying railways to support transport mafia.
Pakistan Railways had a mixture of gauges, including 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in), or "Indian gauge" track; 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in), or metre gauge; and 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge. A few metre-gauge and narrow-gauge railway lines have been converted into Indian gauge, and the remaining lines have been dismantled or abandoned. Now only Indian-gauge railway lines are operational in the Pakistan railway network.
Axle load limit
Pakistan Railways' Indian gauge track axle load limit is 22.86 tonnes except Rohri-Quetta & Quetta-Chaman railway lines on which axle load limit is 17.78 tonnes and Spezand-Zahedan railway line on which axle load limit is 17.27 tonnes.
The maximum Speed of trains on Pakistan Railways is 120 km/h. Some sections of Karachi-Lahore main railway line allow 120 km/h speed. Work is in progress to improve railway track on Karachi-Khanpur section to increase speed to 140 km/h.
The railway authorities have set up a website
Important railway lines
|Karachi-Peshawar main line|
- Karachi–Peshawar main railway line via Rohri, Khanewal, Lahore and Rawalpindi
- Rohri-Chaman railway line via Quetta
- Khanewal-Wazirabad railway line via Faisalabad
- Shahdara Bagh-Sangla Hill railway line
- Shahdara Bagh-Narowal railway line
- Wazirabad-Narowal railway line via Sialkot
Important domestic routes
- Lahore-Sialkot via Narowal
Important railway stations
- Karachi City
- Karachi Cantt
- Landhi Junction
- Kotri Junction
- Hyderabad Junction
- Tando Adam Junction
- Nawabshah Junction
- Mehrabpur Junction
- Rohri Junction
- Rahim Yar Khan
- Multan Cantt
- Khanewal Junction
- Mian Channu
- Kot Radha Kishan
- Raiwind Junction
- Lahore Junction
- Shahdara Junction
- Wazirabad Junction
- Lalamusa Junction
- Gujar Khan
- Malakwal junction
- Attock Junction
- Nowshehra Junction
- Peshawar Cantt
- Islamabad-Muzaffarabad via Murree
- Havelian-Khunjerab (Pakistan-China Border)
- Zhob-Darya Khan (Dera Ismail Khan)
- Chaman-Kandahar, Afghanistan
- Torkham-Jalalabad, Afghanistan
Iran - A 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) railway line runs from Zahedan to Quetta, and a 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) line is finished from Zahedan to Kerman in central Iran, linking with the rest of the Iranian rail network. On May 18, 2007, a MOU for rail cooperation was signed by Pakistan and Iran under which the line will be completed by December 2008. Now that the rail systems are linked up at Zahedan, there is a break-of-gauge between the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) tracks and Pakistan Railway's gauge tracks.
Afghanistan - There is no rail link to Afghanistan since no railway network is present in that country, however Pakistan Rail has proposed to help build an Afghan rail network in three phases. The first phase would stretch from the Chaman to Spin Boldak in Afghanistan. The second phase would extend the line to Kandahar and the third phase would connect to Herat and extended to Khushka, Turkmenistan. The final phase would link 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) with Central Asian 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in). It is not clear where the break-of-gauge station will be. The proposed line will also be connected the port town of Gwadar via Dalbadin and Taftan, thus connecting the port town to Central Asia.
China - There is no link with China however, on 28 February 2007 contracts were awarded for feasibility studies on a line from Havelian via the Khunjerab Pass at 4730 m above sea level, to the Chinese railhead at Kashgar, a distance of about 750 km.
Turkey - An Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad passenger rail service has been proposed. Meanwhile, a container train service was launched by the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani between Islamabad and Istanbul on 14 August 2009. The first train carried 20 containers with a capacity of around 750 t (738 long tons; 827 short tons)  and will travel 6,500 km (4,000 mi) from Islamabad, through Tehran, Iran and on to Istanbul in two weeks' time. According to the Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, after the trial of the container train service, a passenger train will be launched. There are also hopes the route will provide a link to Europe and Central Asia, and carry passengers.
India - Thar Express to Karachi and the more famous Samjhauta Express international train from Lahore, Pakistan to Amritsar (Attari) and Delhi, India. The weekly Thar Express also runs between Karachi and Bhagat Ki Kothi (near Jodhpur, Rajasthan).
Passenger traffic comprises 50% of the total revenue annually. During 1999-2000, this amounted to Rs. 4.8 billion. Pakistan Railways carries 65 million passengers annually and daily operates 228 mail, express and passenger trains. Daily, the railway carries an average of 178,000 people. Pakistan Railways also operates special trains during occasions such as Eid ul Fitr, Eid ul Azha, Independence Day and Raiwind Ijtema.
The Freight Business Unit, with 12,000 personnel, operates over 200 freight stations on the railway network. The unit serves the Ports of Karachi and Bin Qasim as well as all four provinces of the country and generates revenue from the movement of agricultural, industrial and imported products such as petroleum oil & lubricants, wheat, coal, fertilizer, rock phosphate, cement and sugar. About 39% of the revenue is generated from the transportation of POL products, 19% from imported wheat, fertilizer and rock phosphate. The remaining 42% is earned from domestic traffic.
The Freight Business Unit is headed by an additional General Manager.
|Wikinews has related news: Pakistan to Turkey container train service launched|
As on 14 August 2009 by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani between Islamabad and Istanbul via Tehran. The first train carried 20 containers with a capacity of around 750 t (738 long tons; 827 short tons)  and will travel 6,500 km (4,000 mi) from Islamabad, through Tehran, Iran and on to Istanbul in two weeks' time. According to the Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, after the trial of the container train service, a passenger train will be launched. There are also hopes the route will provide a link to Europe and Central Asia, and carry passengers.
Pakistan Locomotive Factory, Risalpur
The Pakistan Locomotive Factory at Risalpur, a public spread on an area of 251 acres (102 ha), was put into service in 1993 with the collaboration of Government of Japan at a cost of Rs.2284.00 million, including a foreign exchange component of Rs.1496.00 million. The factory was equipped for building diesel-electric locomotives, as well as electric locomotives with minor adjustments.
Since 1993, twenty three PHA-20 type 2,000 hp (1,491 kW) diesel-electric locomotives have rolled out of the factory. The project to 3,000 hp (2,237 kW) AGE-30 diesel-electric locomotives is nearly completed. Apart from manufacturing new locomotives, the Pakistan Locomotive Factory has rehabilitated five diesel-electric locomotives of GRU-20 Type and manufactured spares/components for railway maintenance divisions and rehabilitation projects.
- Sukkur rail disaster
- The Sukkur rail disaster occurred on 4 January 1990 in the village of Sangi near Sukkur in the Sindh Province of Pakistan. 307 people were killed making it Pakistan's worst rail disaster. The train (Bahauddin Zakaria Express) concerned was on a 500-mile (800 km) overnight run from Multan to Karachi and was carrying many more passengers in its 16 carriages than its 1408-seat capacity. It was supposed to pass through the village of Sangi but incorrectly set points sent it into a siding where it collided with an empty 67-car freight train at a speed of at least 35 mph.
- Ghotki train crash
- In its worst accident in recent years, three passenger trains collided on 13 July 2005, derailing 13 carriages and leaving at least 120 dead. The Karachi Express ran into the back of the Quetta Express while it was stopped at a station near Ghotki, and the Tezgam travelling in the opposite direction hit several of the derailed carriages. According to officials, the conductor of the Karachi Express misread a signal.
|Wikinews has related news: Train crash in southern Pakistan kills more than a hundred|
- Super Parcel Express
- On 21 August 2005, the upcountry Super Parcels Express derailed while crossing the Malir Bridge near Landhi in the Karachi Division. Eight bogies were substantially damaged when an axle broke due to overloading. Rail traffic was suspended for 24 hours. All down trains were terminated at Landhi and the rakes and the locos turned around from Landhi.
- Mehrabpur train derailment
- On 19 December 2007, the Karachi Express, an express service from Karachi to Lahore, derailed near the town of Mehrabpur in the Sindh province of Pakistan. At around 2:25 a.m. local time, fourteen of the train's sixteen carriages left the tracks, some being mangled by the crash, others simply sliding down an embankment into the water. Sabotage and terrorism were ruled out as the reason for the crash, with officials believing a faulty track was the cause of the derailment.
In March 2010, the Pakistani government announced plans to split Pakistan Railways into four privatised businesses; focused on passenger operations, freight, infrastructure, and manufacturing. In February 2010, "unbundling" was proposed, with activities being outsourced, privatised, or operated separately. However, complete privatisation has been ruled out.
In 2006 it was announced that a railway line between Gwadar and Quetta will be built and the Bostan-Zhob 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge railway line will be converted into 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) in 2007 at a cost of US$1.25 billion. Plans to increase train speeds, install more lengths of double track and to build Gwadar to Chabahar line to standard gauge are being made.
Breaks of gauge
There are proposals for break-of-gauge stations:
- Inside Pakistan
- 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)/1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) at Gwadar Port
- Outside Pakistan
- 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)/1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) in Russia and the Central Asian Republics, and at Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan
- 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)/1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) at Kashgar, China
The Khanewal - Raiwind line (246 km) is being doubled, at a cost of Rs.8.326 billion. The project commenced in July 2005. The section from Khanewal to Sahiwal (119 km) has been opened as a double line section in 2010. The work of dualization of the railway track from Karachi to Shahdara Bagh has been completed.
The following lines are planned to be doubled:
- Shahdara Bagh - Lalamusa
- Total length 126 km
- Total cost Rs.14136 million
- Completion period 3 years from the date of commencement
- Shahdara Bagh - Faisalabad
- Total length 135 km
- Total cost Rs.10486 million
- Completion period 3 years from the date of commencement
- Lalamusa - Chaklala
- Total length 152 km
- Total cost Rs.23770 million
- Completion period 4 years from the date of commencement
- Golra Sharif - Peshawar Cantt
- Total length 160 km
- Total cost Rs.19560 million
- Completion period 4 years from the date of commencement
Pakistan Railways has faced a severe financial and management crisis under the ministership of Mr. Bilor. In those circumstances the department has met with private operators. In this pursuit Pakistan Railway has started several trains on a public-private partnership. Pakistan Business Express Train commenced its maiden Journey on 3 February. 2012 and Shalimar Express resumed its operation on 25 February 2012.
|Wikinews has related news: Pakistan to Turkey container train service launched|
Pakistan awarded a Rs72 million (US$1.2 million) contract to an international consortium to carry out a feasibility study for establishing a rail link with China to boost trade relations between the two countries.
The study will cover a 750-kilometre section between Havellian and the 4,730-metre-high Khunjerab Pass over Mansehra district and the Karakoram Highway. Havellian is already linked with the rest of the rail network in Pakistan; the Chinese will lay some 350 km of track within their own territory from Kashgar terminus up to the Khunjerab Pass, linking Pakistan with China's rail network, largely following the route of the Karakoram Highway.
By expanding its stake in Pakistan's rail sector, China can exploit the country's advantageous geographical position at the confluence of south, central and west Asia.
In the first week of February 2007, Pakistan Railways and China's Dong Fang Electric Supply Corp signed an agreement for establishing a rail link between Havellian and Khunjerab. Ingenieurgemeinschaft Lasser-Feizlmayr (ILF), a consortium of consultant engineers from Austria, Germany and Pakistan, is to submit its report to the Ministry of Railways in nine months. It is most likely that the distance between Havellian and Khunjerab will involve the construction of tunnels. The ILF services encompass both the construction of new high-speed railway lines and the modernisation of existing lines for standard gauge and narrow gauge railways in addition to tunnels. The pre-feasibility study was completed in July 2011.
China is involved in the development of Pakistan Railways and for the past five years it has been increasing its stake in the country's communication sector. The freight-passenger earnings comprise 50% of the railway's total revenue. Pakistan Railways carries 65 million passengers annually and operates 228 mail, express and passenger trains daily. It introduced new mail and express trains between major terminals from 2003 to 2005.
Pakistan Railways has entered agreements with Chinese railway companies for its development. In 2001, Pakistan Railways signed a $91.89 million contract with China National Machinery Import and Export Corp for the manufacture of 175 new high-speed passenger coaches. The project was funded by Exim Bank China on a supplier credit basis. Forty completely built passenger coaches have been received and 105 will be assembled in Pakistan Railways' carriage factory by next December.
These coaches are being used on Pakistan Railways' mail and express trains from Rawalpindi-Lahore-Karachi, Lahore-Faisalabad and Rawalpindi-Quetta. The manufacturing kits for the remaining 30 coaches have also been received and manufacturing is in progress with 12 already assembled. The technology transfer for these coaches has been obtained from China's Chang Chun Car Co.
Under an agreement signed with China in 2003, Pakistan Railways purchased 69 locomotives, of which 15 were delivered as completely built units and are in use by Pakistan Railways. The remaining 54 are to be built at Pakistan Railways' locomotive factory. The Chinese locomotives are 37% cheaper than the European locomotives.
Some in Pakistan have been criticizing the faulty locomotives purchased by Pakistan Railways from Dong Fang Electric Corp of China. Pakistan Railways have decided to purchase 45 more 2,000-3,000-horsepower locomotives from the same company. The company is willing to redesign the already-delivered 30 locomotives of the original order, such that the underframe is strengthened and the weight reduced to less than 140 tons. A Chinese company, Beijing Research and Design Institute, is committed to providing 300 rail cars to Pakistan Railways.
Under another agreement signed in 2004 with China National Machinery and Equipment Group, the Chinese company is to undertake the construction of Corridor 1 of a light-rail mass-transit system for Karachi that is intended to serve 4 million commuters. The project will cost about $568 million and take four and a half years to complete. The contract has been awarded on a build-operate-transfer basis and comprises five corridors.
Pakistan signed a series of agreements with China during the past three years to enhance the capability of its railway system. Under an agreement signed between Pakistan and China Railway, a Chinese company will provide 1,300 freight cars to Pakistan Railways, of which 420 will be manufactured in China and the remaining 880 will be produced at the Moghalpura railway workshops in Lahore.
Under another project, 450 passenger coaches will be rehabilitated at an estimated cost of Rs2.14 billion. The project also includes the conversion of 40 coaches into air-conditioned cars and the conversion of 10 power vans. Furthermore, there is a provision of 100 new high-speed bogies, 30 of which will be imported from China, while 70 will be manufactured locally on a transfer-of-technology basis. Under a separate agreement, 175 new passenger coaches are being purchased from China.
As part of a $100 million agreement signed between Pakistan and China in November 2001, China is to export 69 locomotive engines to Pakistan to modernize Pakistan's railway fleet. The first eight engines have been completed and are ready for shipment to Karachi. The new engines consume less fuel than older models and are cheaper to maintain. The main feature of this deal is that the first 15 engines will be manufactured in China and the remainder will be assembled in Pakistan, with spare parts and technology provided by China. Similarly, for a Rs7.2 billion railway project in Sindh province involving laying 78,000 tons of rails, China delivered 64,000 tons to Pakistan Railways.
As a part of its development plan for its transport and communications network, Pakistan Railways has completed a feasibility study of the Chaman-Kandahar section for laying railway tracks between Pakistan and Turkmenistan through Afghanistan. The feasibility study for cost, engineering and design for the construction of a rail link from Gwadar to the existing rail network in Mastung district in Balochistan has also been finalised. The new link to Gwadar port will open up underdeveloped areas of Balochistan for development. The main aim of the venture is to connect the Central Asian republics with Pakistan Railways' network through Afghanistan.
China is going to be the beneficiary of Gwadar's most accessible international trade routes to the Central Asian republics and China's Xinjiang border region. By extending its East-West Railway from the Chinese border city of Kashi to Peshawar in Pakistan's northwest, Peking can receive cargo to and from Gwadar along the shortest route, from Karachi to Peshawar. The rail network could also be used to supply oil from the Persian Gulf to Xinjiang. Pakistan's internal rail network can also provide China with rail access to Persia.
- Pakistan Railways Year Book 2010-2011, Principal Statistics
- Railways of Afghanistan "Railways and the Great Game" access date: 1 February 2012
- Wikipedia: Metre gauge railway
- Wikipedia: Narrow gauge railway
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- Syed Irfan Raza (30 March 2012). "Railways GM held on charges of misappropriation". Dawn.com Pakistan.
- Embezzlement: Bilour named in multi-billion railways scrap scandal
- Dining cars of Railways allotted to Bilour’s friends, ANP workers
- The Lost Glory, Written by Muhammad Ali Khan, Published in Utrade Magazine
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- Passenger service
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- Officialwebsite of Pakistan Railways
- Pakistan Ministry of Railways
- Pakistan Railways Heritage Society at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 2009)
- Pakistani train spotters
- Images of Pakistan trains
- Pakistan Railways on Google Maps: current and planned tracks and major stations