Pakistan Railways (PR) has received 46 high-speed, modern coaches from China. This means that people in the country will have access to state-of-the-art ways to travel.
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After getting 46 “completely built units” (CBUs) made in China, Pakistan will soon start making 184 similar coaches (passenger, luggage, and brake vans) at its carriage factory in Islamabad with the help of Chinese engineers as part of the technology transfer part of the 230 coach purchase contract.
In a similar way, Pakistan Railways will soon get 200 modern goods/freight wagons from China. Once it gets these wagons, it will start making 620 wagons with similar designs at its Mughalpura workshop and the carriage factory in Risalpur. This is part of the contract’s technology-transfer part. A year ago, in November 2021, the federal government signed a deal with China Railway Construction Corporation Tangshan Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company for the supply of 230 high-speed coaches for PR. This was done to improve and upgrade long-distance passenger services in the country.
“We’ve gotten 46 new coaches, including economy, standard, and parlor classes with air conditioning, as well as luggage and brake vans. On Saturday night, the ship that brought them from China to Karachi Port arrived. “Right now, the coaches are being unloaded at the port,” Shahid Aziz, PR’s additional general manager (mechanical), told Dawn on Sunday. “It would take three days to get the coaches empty,” he said.
Mr. Aziz said that before the coaches arrived in Lahore, they would be tested on the Main Line-1 (ML-1) from Karachi to Peshawar via Rohri, Sukkar, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Lahore, and Rawalpindi by the PR officers in charge. He said that after the test run was over, these coaches would be used for different express passenger trains in the real world.
Abdul Haseeb, who is the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) for the PR, said that after the coaches were unloaded, they would be taken to the Karachi Cantt Railway Station on the line that goes to the Karachi Port. When the coaches got to the Karachi Cantt Railway Station, their test run from Karachi to Peshawar would start.
“Once we finish the test run, which includes a number of electrical and mechanical checks, we’ll send the coaches to Lahore. We’ll use them for the Greenline express train, which is likely to start running again on December 15. Floods had stopped trains from going to Sindh and Baluchistan in August of this year, he said.
In response to a question, Mr. Haseeb said that PR would likely get 200 new freight wagons from China soon, since the Chinese company would send them out next month.
“Right now, wagons are being made in China. But because of Covid-19 restrictions, it moves slowly these days,” he said. He said that Pakistan and Chinese experts will work together to make 184 coaches and 630 wagons as part of the agreement to share technology.
Modern train cars can go as fast as 160 km per hour. In August, the PR teams went to China as part of the technology transfer agreement. While there, they looked at prototypes of coaches and high-capacity wagons.
The PR teams were made up of 18 officials who were in charge of design inspections, 20 who were in charge of inspections, and others who took part in training for the transfer of technology.
Under a $140 million contract, a Chinese company is supposed to make 230 state-of-the-art coaches. During the first week of this month, 46 of these coaches were made in China and sent to Pakistan.
The remaining 184 will be made in Pakistan by PR engineers and technical staff, who will work under the direction of Chinese experts.
Under a different contract of the same kind, a Chinese company is supposed to make 800 freight waggons and 20 brake waggons (total 820). Out of these 820 waggons, PR will get 200, and the rest will be made in Pakistan.