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PR overhauls engines to improve freight.

ISLAMABAD, December 08, 2011 (Balochistan Times): A massive overhauling of upto 100 Pakistan Railway engines is on cards to improve its freight service as the national entity struggles to overcome its financial woes. Pakistan Railways is planning to repair its nearly 100 locomotives in collaboration with private sector on standard terms and conditions to bring about improvement in its stressed system. According to an estimate, about 15 to 20 goods trains have sufficient potential to steer the Railways out of prevailing financial crunch if operated on regular basis, official sources at the Ministry of Railways told here. The sources said 80 engines are being renovated with the partnership of private sector, while 20 faulty locomotives had been handed over to the National Logistic Cell for repair to transport NLC goods. They said Pakistan Railways is taking all necessary measures to ensure improved and efficient passengers and goods services across the country, which is evident of recent addition of 16 completely overhauled locomotives to its fleet. Railways has recently managed to overhaul 16 engines through its own resources, the sources added. At present, 94 locomotives out of around 490 are on tracks. While 19 more engines would be ready to operate by the end of this month, they said. The sources said that Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour is taking keen interest to overcome the financial crunch and make the Railways a profit-earning entity. The Minister is holding meetings with engineers and other concerned staff on regular basis to improve its performance, the sources said. Commenting on purchase of new locomotives, they said negotiations are underway to procure 150 engines from United States and 75 from China. Replying to a question, they said a project is under consideration to ensure the gatted and manned railway crossings throughout the country. According to an estimate, the project would cost around Rs.38 billion to streamline the system at existing 2,382 un-manned railway crossings, they said adding that Rs.45,000 are needed to deploy staff, construct gates and install signals at the each crossing point. Pakistan is the only country where crossing points go un-attended as there is no concept of un-manned railway crossings in the world. The sources said construction of underpasses and fly-over bridges at these points is the responsibility of the federal government, National Highway Authority and district governments. About the bailout package for Railways, they said that around Rs. 2 billion to 2.5 billion are being given to Railways by the Finance Division per month on account of pay and pension, while a special attention is required to meet the shortfall and improve Railways performance.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Dec 8, 2011
Words:443
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