China ships first batch of 46 rail coaches to Pakistan
China has despatched 46 out of 230 new high-speed passenger coaches to Pakistan Railways by sea which will take approximately three weeks to reach Karachi port.
After being handed over to the railway authorities, these coaches will reach Lahore by the Karachi-Lahore main line-1 by end of this month, Dawn has learnt.
“Yes, 46 new coaches have been despatched by China on Friday. Hopefully, we will have them in Karachi within the next three weeks,” PR’s Additional General Manager (Mechanical) Shahid Aziz told Dawn on Friday.
Under a $140 million contract, a leading Chinese company has manufactured 230 state-of-the-art passenger coaches, of which 46 are to be provided as completely built units (CBU) and the remaining 184 will be manufactured in Pakistan by the PR engineers and technical staff under the supervision of the Chinese experts.
Under another similar nature contract, a Chinese firm is also manufacturing 800 freight wagons and 20 brake wagons. Some wagons are underway to be manufactured in China at the moment while most of them would be manufactured in Pakistan under the technology-transfer method.
For coaches and wagons planned to be manufactured in Pakistan at the PR Carriage Factory, Islamabad, the Chinese firm will be responsible to provide spare parts and raw materials under the contract.
An 18-member team of PR officials visited China in the second week of August for design inspections and training related to the transfer of technology.
However, they couldn’t inspect the prototypes of the wagons since they were not manufactured.
“The first batch of the high-speed wagons will be delivered next month by the Chinese company,” the AGM said, adding that the new coaches and wagons would help PR improve its rolling stock infrastructure.
It merits mentioning that the railway is working to upgrade the dilapidated track (ML-1) as the Khanpur-Kotri section is not fit for high-speed train operation.
The poor condition of the railway tracks, faulty signalling system, officials’ negligence, overspeeding, poor maintenance, financial crises and shortage of staff, etc have caused several fatal accidents during the last couple of years.
The year 2019 was the worst for the railways in terms of fatal/non-fatal accidents.