Karachi: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed has stated that the Main Line-1 (ML-1) project will allow people to travel from Peshawar to Karachi in just eight hours, a news source reported. He further stated the Ministry of Railways had welcomed court order pertaining to the project launch.
Rashid added that although the department had already prepared the business plan for the project, the officials concerned had to submit a report to the court within a time period of 15 days.
Recently, the court had asked the Railways Department to draft a plan that would improve profits of the Pakistan Railways. The court also inquired the minister about a project planned for upgrading the railways tracks of the country.
Rashid stated that as many as 24 new trains were regularly running on the railway track. He added that a significant number of people were utilizing the train service for commute purpose.
With regard to the provision of funds, Rashid said that they would complete the ML-1 project with the financial assistance from China.
The Ministry of Railways has also dispatched the summary of the PC-1 for the reconstruction and expansion of the existing ML-1 project to the Planning Commission, a news source reported. The project summary totaled to USD 9.249 billion which will become part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project upon the PC-1’s finalization.
Once approval is received, the aim is to complete phase 1 of PC-2 in four years, phase 2 in five years and phase 3 in seven years. A request for tenders will be put out as well, with its completion time frame set for three months. China is providing Pakistan with a loan for the entire project on a 30-year payback undertaking.
The feasibility report has been prepared by Ministry of Railway CPEC project head Basharat Waheed, and was sent to the Chinese government as well as the Planning Commission. Once this project is implemented, the speed of trains is expected to be increased to 160 km/hour, while the number of passenger trains will go up to 40 and cargo trains will go up to 30 by 2030.
The project will pave the way for a Karachi-Peshawar track, while various other existing tracks will be upgraded, including Multan-Lahore, Kaluwal track, Lala Musa-Rawalpindi, and Peshawar-Naushehra.
The construction work on the Main Line (ML-1) railway project was expected to begin in March 2020, a news source reported. As per details, the project involves up-gradation of the Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar railway line at a cost of USD 8.2 billion