Circular Railway incurs Rs10m losses since resumption

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The Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) train service,restored after 25 years to facilitate people of Karachi, has added to the woes of Pakistan Railways (PR) by incurring a loss of worth Rs10 million within a short time, sources said on Tuesday. As per details, Karachi Circular Railway which was restarted by federal minister Sheikh Rasheed back in November is still running on main line between City Station to Pipri and the first phase of the resumption of the intra-city train service has not been successful, and instead of reaping profits, the railway authorities have been suffering losses. Around 150 passengers are travelling in KCR on daily basis against its capacity of carrying 1000 people, which is putting the authorities at a financial loss. Moreover, only two KCR trains are running on the main line track one each in the morning and evening. The Pakistan Railways had announced to run four trains from December 18 which now looks impossible as no measurements have been taken by railway authorities yet. The encroachments on the 14-kilometer extended track from Karachi’s City Station to Orangi have not been removed after the passage of the December 15 deadline announced by the then railways’ minister Sheikh Rasheed. According to Pakistan Railways, the Karachi Circular Railway project will be completed in three phases. The length of the KCR project was 43.13km, including 14.95km on the ground and 28.18km elevated. It would have 24 stations and its per-day ridership would be around 550,000. The second phase will expand operations to a seven-kilometre track running from Orangi Station to Gilani Station, while the third will see trains running over a nine-kilometre stretch between Gilani Station and Drigh Colony. The second phase of KCR will cost Rs 8.70 billion, whereas, the third phase would be completed under a public-private partnership. FWO will construct underpasses and flyovers on KCR tracks, whereas, the security wall on all the routes will be constructed by the provincial transport department. It is noteworthy to mention here that the Sindh government had allocated Rs5 billion funds for the construction of the underpasses and flyovers. The provincial government in its last cabinet meeting gave the approval to release the remaining Rs10 million for Karachi Circular (KCR) project.