Ground work on one of a most important component of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)-rehabilitation and up-gradation of Main-Line 1 (ML1) from Karachi to Peshawar is likely to be initiated by March next year.
“Although Pakistan Railways has set an ambitious target for the commencement of ground work, however it is working on fast track to meet this target,” Director General (DG) Planning, Ministry of Railways Mazhar Ali Shah said.
Talking to APP, the DG said preliminary design of the project was in process and hopefully within 3-4 weeks, review of the design would be finalized. He said the feasibility study of the project had already been finalized while framework agreement with China had also been signed.
He said after finalizing of preliminary design of the project, all the procedural arrangements including commercial contract and financial close would be completed as soon as possible. Mazhar Shah said the project was of great importance and the two countries had declared it as a strategic project of CPEC which would help improving the connectivity between the two countries.
He dispelled the notion that China had raised objections on this projection during the meeting of 7th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on CPEC held here last month, saying that China was fully agree to finance this project as per framework agreement signed between the two countries.
Meanwhile official sources in ministry of Planning told this scribe that according to the agreement, the project’s total estimated cost was US$ 8.2 billion. They said with the up-gradation of ML-1, train’s speed would increase from less than 100 kilometers per hour to 140 kilometres per hour while train capacity would be increased from the current 32 to 171 trains per day.
The PR had planned to upgrade and overhaul infrastructure of ML-1 under CPEC framework including bridges, track, signalling, tunnels, buildings, telecommunication systems, track maintenance system.—APP