Pakistan Railways

Pakistan Railways

:"This article is about the rail company in Pakistan. For technical details and operations see: 'Transport in Pakistan'."Infobox rail
railroad_name=Pakistan Railways

map_caption=Pakistan Railways Netwok map
hq_city=Lahore, Punjab
gauge = 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) and 1,000 mm (3 ft 3⅜ in)
website= []

Pakistan Railways is the state-owned railway company of Pakistan. It is a large organization under the administration of the Pakistani Government's Ministry of Railways. "Pakistan Railways" provides an important mode of transportation in the farthest corners of the country and brings them closer for business, sightseeing, pilgrimage and education. It has been a great integrating force and forms the life line of the country by catering to its needs for large scale movement of people and freight. The current chairman is Mr. Shakil Durrani.

History of Pakistan Railways

The possibility of Karachi as a sea port was first noticed in the middle of 19th century. Sir Henry Edward Frere was appointed Commissioner of Sindh after its annexation to British India's Bombay Presidency in 1847 and sought permission from Lord Dalhousie to begin a survey for a sea port. He also initiated the survey for a railway line in 1858. It was proposed that a railway line from Karachi City to Kotri, steam navigation up the Indus and Chenab rivers up to Multan and from there another railway to Lahore and beyond be constructed.

It was on 13 May, 1861, that the first railway line was opened for public traffic between Karachi City and Kotri, a distance of mi to km|105. The line between Karachi City and Kiamari was opened on 16 June, 1889. During 1897 the line from Keamari to Kotri was doubled.

The railway line from Peshawar to Karachi closely follows Alexander’s line of march through the Hindu Kush mountains to the Arabian Sea. Different sections on the existing main line from Peshawar to Lahore and Multan and branch lines were constructed in the last quarter of 19th century and early years of 20th century.

The four sections, i.e., Scinde (Sindh) Railways, Indian Flotilla Company, Punjab Railway and Delhi Railways, working in a single company, were later on amalgamated into the Scinde, Punjab & Delhi Railways Company and purchased by the Secretary of State for India in 1885, and in January 1886, it was named North Western State Railways, which was later on renamed as North Western Railway.

At the time of independence, 1,947 route miles (3,133 km) of North Western Railways were transferred to India, leaving 5,048 route miles (8,122 km) to Pakistan. In 1954, the railway line was extended to Mardan and Charsada, and in 1956 the Jacobabad-Kashmore RailGauge|30 gauge line was converted into broad gauge. In 1961, the Pakistani portion of North Western Railways was renamed Pakistan Railways. The Kot Adu-Kashmore line was constructed between 1969 and 1973 providing an alternative route from Karachi up the country.


In 2007, contracts were let for studies into a link between Pakistan and China via the border crossing near Kashgar. [cite news| url=| title=China-Pakistan rail link on horizon| publisher=Asia Times| author=Fazl-e-Haider, Syed| date=2007-02-24| accessdate=2007-08-12| ]

A line to the deepwater port of Gwadar is also proposed.

Major Routes

The total length of railway tracks in Pakistan is mi to km|5072. The busiest routes include:

* Peshawar-Karachi Route
* Peshawar-Quetta Route
* Lahore-Sialkot Route
* Lahore-Faisalabad Route
* Faisalabad-Khanewal Route

A line extends westwards from Quetta across Baluchistan, terminating in Zahedan, Iran. Iranian Railways is currently extending a line eastward to Zahedan, which will link up the two countries' rail systems. Iran's system is standard gauge (1435 mm), and there will be a break of gauge near Zahedan. [cite news | title=Closing the gap from Bam to Zahedan | url = | work =Railway Gazette International | date = 2007-01-01 | author=Dr John Stubbs]

Major Stations and Junctions

The major stations and junctions between Peshawar and Karachi include::Peshawar,Darya Khan,Mianwali,Bhakkar,Kaloorkot Nowshehra Jn., Attock city, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Lalamusa Jn., Gujrat, Wazirabad Jn., Gujranwala, Lahore, Lahore Cantt., Raiwind Jn., Okara, Sahiwal, Chichawatni, Mianchannu, Khanewal Jn., Multan cantt., Lodhran Jn., Bahawalpur, Samasatta Jn., Khanpur Jn, Rahim Yar Khan, Sadiqabad, Pannu Aqil Cantt., Rohri Jn., Khairpur, Bhiria Road, Nawabshah, Tandu Adam, Hyderabad Jn., Kotri Jn.,Jangshahi, Landhi Jn., Karachi Cantt. and Karachi City.

The major stations and junctions between Peshawar and Quetta are::Peshawar to Rohri Jn. (same as above), Sukkur, Shikarpur, Jacobabad Jn., Dera Murad Jamali, Sibi Jn., Ab-e-Gum, Mach Spezand Jn and Quetta.

Passenger Traffic

Passenger traffic comprises 50% of the railway's total revenue. During 1999-2000, this amounted to Rs. 4.8 billion. Pakistan Railways carries 65 million passengers annually and daily operates 228 mail, express and passenger trains. The number of passengers carried daily is thus about 178,000. Pakistan Railways also operates special trains during occasions like Eid ul Fitar and Eid ul Azha. Special trains are also run on the occassions of anniversaries and celeberations of different saints like Hazrat Data and Lal Shahbaz Qalandar etc..Fact|date=August 2007

Freight Traffic

The Freight Business Unit, with 12,000 personnel, operates over 200 freight stations on the railway network. The Unit serves two major ports of Karachi and Bin Qasim as well as all four provinces of the country and generates revenue from the movement of agricultural, industrial and imported products, Petroleum Oil & Lubricants (POL), wheat, coal, fertilizer, rock phosphate, cement, container traffic and sugar. About 39% of the revenue is generated from the transportation of POL products, 19% from imported wheat, fertilizer and rock phosphate. The remaining 42% is earned from domestic traffic.Fact|date=March 2007

The Freight Business Unit offers services to meet customer requirements and reduce costs through efficiency, innovation and modernization. All possible efforts are made to increase revenues and pass on the benefits to customers. The Freight Business Unit is headed by an additional General Manager.Fact|date=March 2007

The Freight Rates structure is based on market trends, particularly of road transport, which is the Railways' main competitor. The freight rates are no longer rigid but flexible, depending on the lead, peak-off peak season, and quantum offered.Fact|date=March 2007

Pakistan Locomotive Factory, Risalpur

The Pakistan Locomotive Factory at Risalpur, a public spread on an area of 251 acres, was put into service in 1993 with the collaboration of Government of Japan at a total cost of Rs.2284.00 million, including a foreign exchange component of Rs.1496.00 million. The factory can produce two diesel-electric locomotives per month on single-shift basis, but this can be doubled by introducing a second working shift. The factory is equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment which can be employed in the building of diesel-electric locomotives of suitable horsepower, as well as electric locomotives with minor adjustments.cite web| title=Pakistan Railway |url=| accessdate=2007-08-11|]

Since 1993, twenty three PHA-20 type 2,000 hp diesel-electric locomotives have rolled out of the factory. The ongoing project of 3,000 hp AGE-30 diesel-electric locomotives is at the verge of its completion, which is a milestone in the history of the factory. Apart from manufacturing new locomotives, the Pakistan Locomotive Factory has also successfully rehabilitated five diesel-electric locomotives of GRU-20 Type and manufactured other various spares/components for railway maintenance divisions and rehabilitation projects.

The biggest problem for Pakistan Railways is the soaring budget deficit. Although railways are traditionally not expected to earn a profit it is nevertheless legitimate to expect railways to meet at least operational expenses. The principal reason for this loss is the presence of unnecessary departments which are a "white elephant" for Pakistan Railways. The biggest among these is the Railways Police followed by Stores and Purchase. These department should be abolished from Railways without further delay. Their utility for railways is marginal at best. The Audit and Accounts, Railways Workshops Division, and General Administration staff need drastic cuts. These organizations are heavily overstaffed. If the policy makers has the stomach to make tough choices and get rid of the white elephents and introduce necessary reforms, the budget deficit of railways can be reduced to bare minimum. If they will continue to ignore the presence of non-productive over staffed departments with very insignificant contribution in overall performanc e of Pakistan Railways, the department will continue to decline. It shall never be in a position to meet the expectations of public.

Current Problems


Pakistan railway still suffers from a mixture of gauges, RailGauge|1676 and RailGauge|1, but this is being gradually tackled by converting the narrow gauge lines to broad gauge, with little narrow gauge remaining.


QUETTA: Former Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid (2007) has said construction work on the 295 km Bostan-Zhob railway section will be started soon and the narrow gauge railway track will be converted into the broad gauge.

[] The Pak-china rail traffic corridor is of immense strategic importance. The delay in this respect is not good for the prosperity of Pakistan Railways.

Adjacent Countries

Should Pakistan Railways link up with railways to the west and north, breaks of gauge will be created so:

* Iran, Middle East, Europe, North Africa - RailGauge|sg / RailGauge|1676
* Central Asia - RailGauge|1524 / RailGauge|1676
* China - RailGauge|sg / RailGauge|1676
* South East Asia (would need to be serviced through India or China) as Pakistan is not land-contiguous with these nations RailGauge|1


* "Ghotki train crash"
** In its worst accident in recent years, three passenger trains collided on 13 July 2005, derailing 13 carriages and leaving at least 120 dead. The Karachi Express ran into the back of the Quetta Express while it was stopped at a station near Ghotki, and the Tezgam Express travelling in the opposite direction hit several of the derailed carriages. According to officials, the conductor of the Karachi Express misread a signal. [cite news| url=| title=World's worst rail disasters| publisher=BBC| date=2005-07-13| accessdate=2007-08-12| ]

* "Super Parcel Express"
** On 21 August 2005, the upcountry "Super Parcels Express" derailed while crossing the Malir Bridge near Landhi in the Karachi Division. Eight bogies were substantially damaged when an axle broke due to over loading. The rail traffic was suspended for 24 hours. All down trains were terminated at Landhi and the rakes and the locos made the turn around from Landhi.

* "Mehrabpur train derailment"
** On 19 December 2007, the train, "Karachi Express", an express service from Karachi to Lahore, derailed near the town of Mehrabpur in the Sindh province of Pakistan. At around 2:25 a.m. local time, fourteen of the train's sixteen carriages left the tracks, some being mangled by the crash, others simply sliding down an embankment into the water. Sabotage and terrorism were ruled out as the reason for the crash, with officials believing a faulty track was the cause of the derailment. [Aziz, Abdul: [ Sabotage unlikely in train crash] , "Dawn", 20 December 2007.]

Stations served

Development plans

In 2006, Ministry of Railways announced that railway tracks between Gwadar and Quetta will be built. The Bostan-Zhob narrow-gauge railway line will be converted into broad gauge within one year. These two projects will be developed at a cost of US$1.25 billion.

In addition, there are several ongoing schemes of expansion into West Asia and electrification (worth about $2 billion) over the five year period from 2005-2010. [cite web| url=| title=Achievements & Plans| author=Pakistan Railway| accessdate=2007-08-12| ]

Also, a high-speed railway (about 300km/h) between Punjab and Sindh is planned at a cost of $1 billion. [ (link inactive as of 2008-05-18)]

In late 2006, plans to increase train speeds, install more lengths of double track and to convert the country's railways to standard gauge and establish direct rail connections with China have been announced by the president of Pakistan. [cite news| url=| title=Railway track be laid between Pakistan and China: Musharraf| publisher=PakTribune| date=2006-12-19| accessdate=2006-12-19| ]


The 274 km (170 mile) section between Lahore and Khanewal is currently electrified on one side--but not the other due to costs of double-carriaging this line. Due to the second line being nonelectrified, it is difficult to run electric locomotives, which can easily come from Lahore to Khanewal, but can't go back to Lahore. The project planners failed to visualise this anomaly, so now, for all practical purposes, Pakistan Railways does not have any electrified section.

See also

* History of rail transport in Pakistan
* List of Pakistan Railways trains
* Ministry of Railways (Pakistan)
* Transport in Pakistan
* Karachi Circular Railway
* Lahore Railway Station


External links

* [ Official Website of Pakistan Railways]
* [ Pakistan Ministry of Railways]
* [ Pakistan Railways Heratige Society (PRHS)]
* [ Pakistani Train Spotters]
* [ Images of Pakistan Trains]

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