Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Saturday said the signing of an agreement about construction of the Main Line-1 (ML-1) was expected in October, which would be a great achievement for the nation and the railways ministry. Addressing a press conference about Pakistan Railways matters at the PR headquarters, he said the prime minister had assured him that the Planning Division would complete its work on the ML-1 soon and the agreement with China for up-gradation of the main line would be signed in the next month.
He said the department was ready to give its track to private sector for running freight trains if private parties promise Rs 36-40 billion revenue to the department. He said that train schedule was getting improved and within 7 to 8 days, the schedule would be regularised across the country if there would be no heavy rains during this period.
The minister said that no new passenger train was under consideration until the arrival of new coaches; however, study of new routes was being conducted presently. He said those trains could be stopped where occupancy of the train is less than 40 per cent of the capacity. He said that freight and land of railways department would remain in focus in the upcoming year.
To a question, he said that a summery for appointment of new chief executive officer of the railways had been forwarded to the authority after the retirement of CEO Aftab Akbar, who would retire on Sept 15.