Pakistan Railways has increased the fares of three trains while it has also decided to seek the return of four trains from the private sector.
The economy class ticket of Tezgam from Rawalpindi to Karachi has been increased from Rs2,000 to Rs3,500, the fare of Rawalpindi to Lahore rail car has been increased from Rs500 to Rs950, and the fare of Jafar Express from Rawalpindi to Quetta has been increased from Rs2,860 to Rs3,700.
Pakistan Railways is also seeking back Maher Express, Bahauddin Zakaria Express, Farid Express and Bilal Express, which were given to the private sector. The preparations for this have been started.
Pakistan Railways suffered massive losses as heavy floods wreaked havoc across the country and damaged a great part of the rail infrastructure. This brought railways operations to a standstill, as inflation continued to rise across the country. Therefore, to cope with inflationary pressures, as operations resumed in October, the authorities jacked up fares for various trains.
Closed sections in Balochistan
Pakistan Railways is also planning to restore all the closed sections in Balochistan province which could not only generate revenue for the department but also facilitate the masses.
“The decision will facilitate the local people of the province and also boost the business activities for the small business owners,” an official in the Ministry of Railways said.
He said that Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique had also taken a keen interest in this regard and asked the concerned official of the department to make a plan for the restoration of different sections to generate income in the province.
To a question, the official said that Pakistan Railways had also planned to start rehabilitation work of a 33-kilometre track through sleeper renewal between Quetta-Bostan and Quetta-Chaman section.
“The track will not only facilitate the passengers but also connect three major cities of the province,” he added.
He said that railway network in Balochistan province mainly consisted of Quetta Division having Dera Allah Yar-Sibi-Quetta, Quetta-Chaman, Sibi-Khost, Spezend-Dalbandin-Taftan, Bostan-Zhob which were closed for the last 15 years.
The official said that there were two passenger trains Jaffer Express (40 up, 39 down) and Chaman Passenger (349 up, 350 down) operating in Balochistan while no stations had been closed during the last 15 years in the Quetta division.
He said that the overall length of the railway track in Balochistan was 1,470.36 kilometre including the closed Bostan-Zhob section.
“Most of the track is more than 100 years old and on certain stretches, engineering speed restrictions have been imposed due to deferred maintenance and owing to resource constraints,” he stated, adding that the routine maintenance of the track was being carried out with available resources.
To improve railway services in Balochistan, the official said, the department was taking several steps like approval of PC-I for the track’s rehabilitation and the rehabilitation of another 100-km track between Ahmedwal Dalbadin on Quetta-Taftan section.
The official said that rehabilitation work of the track between Nokundi Kohi-Taftan on the Quetta-Taftan section while 160.024 kilometers track between Bostan-Chaman on the Quetta-Chaman section would be carried out.