KARACHI: The Pakistan Railways is to resume the Karachi Circular Railway, partially from Monday, November 16, all the way from its Pipri Station to Orangi Station. According to a press statement from the Pakistan Railways, the distance is around 60 kilometers from Pipri to Orangi Station. “Four trains in Up and Down directions will commute the passengers between Pipri and Orangi stations with a uniform gap of three hours,” said the press statement.
The first train will depart the Orangi station at 7am in the morning followed by subsequent departures at 10am, 1pm and 4pm; simultaneously, departures shall also take place from Pipri Station. A uniform fare of Rs50 per travel has been fixed. The Pakistan Railways Pipri Station is near the Pakistan Steel Mills. All the way from Pirpri, Landhi, Malir, Drigh Road, Cantt Station and then City Station, runs Pakistan Railways Main Line (ML-1), which is of 46 kilometers.
From the City Station towards the Orangi Station, the distance is around 14 kilometers. After the City Station, there’s Keamari Station, Karachi Port Trust Station, Wazir Mansion Station, Lyari Station, Baldia Station, Gulbai Station, Site Station, Shah Latif Station and then Orangi Station. According to an official of Pakistan Railways, the ML-1 is already functional for upcountry trains. Regarding the encroachments on the KCR’s track from the City Station towards the Orangi Station, the official explained that all major encroachments have been removed and in four-to-five days, they will repair any damage found on the railway track. A trolley inspection, in this regard, has already been conducted. The distance, he said, will be covered in not more than 45 minutes from Pipri to Orangi Station.
An official of the Sindh government’s Transport and Mass Transit Department told The News that the Sindh government isn’t on board regarding revival of the KCR. The official explained that the KCR initially had no route from Pipri to Drigh Road. The Supreme Court in its May 8, 2019 order directed the Pakistan Railways to end encroachments on the KCR’s right of way and hand the track over to the Sindh government, which should make it functional in one month.
On the other hand, the Sindh government had already planned a master plan for KCR, which was apparently scrapped by the federal government.
The KCR started its operations in 1969 under the administration of the Pakistan Railways and was discontinued in 1999 due to major financial losses. Since then, several attempts were undertaken by the federal and provincial governments to revive the local train. The KCR project comprises a 29.41-kilometre-long two-way KCR loop along with the provision of a 13.69-kilometre-long two-way dedicated track along the Pakistan Railways’ mainline, which stretches from the City Station to the Drigh Road Station.
The Sindh government hired the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) as the lead and technical consultant of the project while AKHUND Forbes was the legal consultant. ProMag was also the technical consultant with expertise in real estate and then China Railway Engineering Corporation was its technical sub consultant and Hang Law Associates was the project’s legal sub consultant. The KMPG was the financial consultant. The official of the Sindh Transport department said that now a new feasibility study will be prepared by the federal government, which will at least take two years to complete.