Railway revamp.


THE association of train drivers has called upon the Pakistan Railways authorities to focus on 'rehabilitation of the [train] track for the safety of passengers, line staff and rolling stock' as the number of minor and major accidents involving significant loss of human lives and railway property continues to rise for some years. The association has also warned of protests if the drivers are asked to operate passenger or cargo trains on the existing tracks without ensuring regular repairs to make them less dangerous. Given the present state of affairs at PR, it seems highly unlikely that anyone from among the railway authorities is paying heed to this call for making the dilapidated tracks safer for train operations.

The railway is in a total mess because of a number of factors. For starters, it has failed to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies, improve services and invest in ground infrastructure or efficient rolling stock to make its operations safer. Once a popular mode of travel for a large majority of middle-class families, people now avoid trains for fear of their lives. Similarly, in the last couple of decades or so, PR has completely lost its cargo business to road haulage owing to the shortage of freight trains and a highly erratic service. Meanwhile, frequent political interventions for short-term gains, red...

To continue reading