ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways is taking various steps to upgrade three main railway tracks, including Main Line (ML)-1, ML-2 and ML-3 under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The upgradation and doubling of 1872 kilometres long ML-1 from Karachi to Peshawar, including 55-km Taxila-Havelian section is being done.
Additionally, the establishment of a dry port near Havelian has been declared as ‘Early Harvest Project’ under the CPEC, official sources in the ministry told APP.
They said the project also included doubling of the track from Shandara to Peshawar Cantonment and increasing the speed to 160 km per hour, where it is possible. The project would be initiated shortly and is expected to complete in a period of five years, the sources added.
The ML-2 is 1254 kilometre long alternate railway line from Kotri to Attock via Dadu-Larkana Jacobabad-Dera Ghazi Khan-Bhakkar Kundian, they added.
The sources clarified that although upgradation of ML-2 was part of the CPEC, it was also included in midterm (2020-2025). The feasibility study has been completed by the consultant and is under the scrutiny of the railways officers.
They informed the existing railway line from Rohri to Kohi-Taftan via Quetta and Sibi-Spezand section (1022 km) and rail link from Quetta to Kotla Jam (538 km) were called ML-3, which will be used for the exploitation of full capacity of Gwadar Port and anticipated traffic from China after CPEC became operational.
The sources further informed that the feasibility study of the project had been approved by the Planning Commission in January this year, and the bidding process for its award was in progress. To a question, they said that Mass Transit/Circular Railways was purely a provincial subject.
However, Pakistan Railways provide technical assistance as and when sought by the concerned provincial departments.
They said a proposal was under consideration by the Transport and Mass Transit Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for Circular Rail Track from Peshawar to Nowshera, Mardan, Charsadda and back to Peshawar.