Pakistan is overhauling Railway system with China’s help

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: In order to replace its old and aging Railway system with modern and fast system, Pakistan Railway has invited bids from Chinese companies to tender for country’s first and biggest transport sector project —Main Line-1 (ML-1) — from Sept 12.
The project which is all set to benefit millions of Pakistanis has been divided into three separate packages —Nawabshah to Rohri / Sukkar, Multan to Lahore & Walton Academy and Lahore to Lalamusa & Kaluwal to Pindora sections.
Pakistani officials said, ML-1 would create as many as 100,000 to 150,000 Pakistanis are expected to get jobs in ML-1. This project is known as upgradation of Pakistan railway’s Mainline (ML-1) worth billions of US dollars. Through invitation of bids which has been made public from September 12, the railways ministry is seeking expression of interest for up-gradation of the aforementioned packages of the ML-1 in EPC (Engineering, Procurement & Construction) mode from eligible Chinese firms on the basis. The invitation for bids said the “project will be funded under CPEC financing arrangement through loan from Chinese Financial Institutions and partly funded by Government of Pakistan.” Pakistan Railway has set a deadline of October 22 for submission of bids for the project
Under ML-1 project existing 2,655 km track would be upgraded and speed of passenger trains would increase from 110kms per hour to 165kms per hour while line capacity would increase from 34 to 171 trains each way per day.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Railways has already constituted a project steering committee for the effective supervision and implementation of the project.
Following extensive debates and deliberations, Pakistan’s Executive Committee of National Economic Council (CNEC) has recently given green signal to upgrade Pakistan Railways’ Mainline-1 (ML-1) at estimated cost of $6.806 billion (equal to PKR 11.44 trillion) under CPEC.