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Pakistan set to upgrade its main railway line with Chinese assistance

By Raza Khan (People's Daily Online)    21:10, July 14, 2017

Pakistan is all set to modernize its decades old railway line running from Karachi to Peshawar with the financial and technical assistance of China. A meeting was held between the railway officials of Pakistan and China in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province of Pakistan, to finalize the terms and condition of the project.

The upgrade of country’s main passenger and freight train line is part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flag carrier project of the Belt and Road imitative. As per the agreement, China will help Pakistan overhaul and modernize its railways network.

In the first phase of the project, the railway track will be made double from Karachi to Peshawar (ML-1). The agreement had been signed between the two countries in sideline of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in May this year.

Briefing about the latest development, Javed Anwar, Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan Railways, said that number of trains running on the track from Karachi to Peshawar will rise from 32 to 73. “The speed of the passenger trains will also be increased to between 110 and 160 km per hour and the freight trains will be 120 km per hour.”

Under this agreement, around 2,655 km-long railways track will be upgraded, and other 364 km will be overhauled. Moreover, 814 km new track will be constructed. The upgrade plan will cover 2,700 bridges, 11 tunnels and 550 turns. The building of computerized interlocking system, auto block signaling, automatic train protection, advance road warning and centralized traffic system will be part of the project as well.

Chinese railway experts and engineers will also carry out work on improvement of Karachi-Hyderabad railway line. On this track, speed of the train will be increased up to 160 km per hour while an alternative track will also be built. Sections of Multan-Lahore, Peshawar-Rawalpindi, Kalowal to Pindora and Nawabshah-Rohri will also be upgraded. Chinese engineers have already arrived in Pakistan to make a plan to execute the project.

This is the first time since the end of World War II that Pakistan’s railways network is going to make a major upgrade and renovation with aid and assistance of China. Pakistan’s Minister of Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique expressed gratitude to National Railway Administration of China for helping modernize Pakistan’s transportation network. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Chen Lidan, Bianji)

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