Railways to spend Rs 1.8b to restore old system of KCR

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Railways would restore old system of Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) with a cost of Rs 1.8 billion and around 16,000 passengers would travel on 32 passenger trains daily. The distance from the starting point to the last destination would be covered in only half an hour, an official in the Ministry of Railways stated on Tuesday.
He said that Pakistan Railways was going to restore historic project of KCR on the orders given by the Supreme Court in which role and cooperation of the Sindh government would be required. The official said 44 kilometers KCR track will include 30 km loop and 14 km mainline. The KCR has total 20 stations, out of which 15 are on the loop and five on the mainline, while there are 24 level crossings on the entire track.
He said the KCR project would be restored in three phases. In the first phase 14 kilometers from Karachi City to Orangi Station would be revived, in the second phase seven kilometers from Orangi Station to Gilani Station will be restored while in the third and final phase nine kilometers from Gilani Station to Drug Colony track would be completely restored.
About the restoration of first phase, the official said the rehabilitation work of the track from Karachi City to Orangi Station was in full swing. So far, 12 kilometer track from Karachi City to Manghopir has been completely restored.
He said that Rs152.5 million for repair of nine stations, platforms and 15 level crossings was restored in the first phase while tenders of Rs 50 million for electrical signal and telecommunication have been issued in July of the current financial year. The official said presently ten locomotives and 40 coaches for the KCR project had been handed over to Carriage Factory Islamabad for repair and renovation. He said Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has also announced to have a ready-made coach at Cantonment Station on the occasion of his recent visit to Shah Abdul Latif Station.
To a question, he said that Pakistan Railways would upgrade the KCR project in the second phase Rs 8.705 billion would require for its rehabilitation work. After the upgradation of KCR, the number of passenger trains would be increased from 32 to 48 and passenger capacity would also be increased from 16,000 to 24,000 passengers while the total journey duration would be reduced from 30 minutes to 19 minutes. In the third and last phase, the official the project would be upgraded to a modern urban mass transit system under public-private partnership.