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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Quetta-Zahidan container train begins operation today

 Quetta-Zahidan container train begins operation today

LAHORE: The container special train between Quetta and Zahidan will start operation from Tuesday after about four years with the assistance of Iranian Railways.
Initially, the freight train will operate once in a week with 24 bogies. Having a turnaround time of one week, the train would carry rice and other items to Iran and bring sulpher, tarcoal and chemicals to Pakistan.
“The number of bogies will gradually be increased to 40,” said Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique at a news conference at Pakistan Railways headquarters in Lahore on Monday.
Iran would provide some 2,000 litres of diesel for the locomotives at subsidised rate of Rs15 per litre. The Iranian government had been requested to supply some 5,000 litres of diesel at subsidised rate so that the operational cost of the train could be minimised. The Iranian government has promised to sympathetically consider the request, said the minister.
“Pakistan Railways is ready to operate ECO train from Islamabad to Istanbul through Quetta, Taftan and Zahidan and is awaiting a green signal from the Turkish government. The launch is being delayed because of the upgrading of tracks between Ankara and Istanbul. The Turkish government has offered to bear the operational cost of the ECO train during initial months of its launch, but we declined the offer with thanks and arranged business for it,” said Mr Rafique.
Regarding the financial health of the PR, the minister said that by May-end the railways earned Rs28.67 billion against the budgetary target of Rs28 billion.
“We have revised the budgetary target to Rs31bn as we are likely to earn Rs8bn alone from the freight sector against the budgetary target of Rs6.30bn,” said the minister.
The Green Line train between Islamabad and Karachi has been a success story as it usually has 100 per cent occupancy.
There were some shortcomings in the Green Line train which had been overcome. From June 20, commuters would pay less for short distances.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2015