Heavy engines installed, tracks weak
The Pakistan Railways has announced that it will partially resume the inner-city Karachi Circular Railway service from Monday, November 16, after a 21-year closure.
The track from the Nazimabad and Orangi station to the Karota station is 13km long and is reportedly weak.
Heavy engines are being used for the trains which take a while to start. On this route, there are eight stations and 14 level crossings, due to which the train will operate at a speed of 15km per hour.
Due to this, there's a chance of traffic jams at Ghani Chowrangi, Gulbai, Maripur and West Wharf. From Orangi road to Tower, there are no stations or level crossings.
According to the Railway authorities, a tender of Rs2 billion has been awarded for the construction of stations and level crossings.
Four trains will leave from Landhi and four from Orangi in the first phase. They will depart at 7am, 10am, 1pm and 4pm. The KCR is expected to provide relief to commuters and solve the transport crisis in the city.
This comes after the Supreme Court issued on Tuesday a contempt notice to the Sindh chief secretary over his failure to ensure the removal of encroachments from the KCR track.
A show-cause notice has also been issued to the Railways secretary. The two senior officials have been summoned in person at the next hearing along with the FWO DG.
The project’s complete track will start from Drigh Road station, going through Gulistan-e-Jauhar and heading to Gulshan-e-Iqbal. From here it will turn towards Nazimabad going through Yaseenabad and Liaqatabad. The track then heads to Manghopir and SITE before going taking a turn towards Baldia and going through Lyari, Mereweather Tower, City Station and onward to PIDC and Karachi Cantt.
The KCR would then run parallel to Sharae Faisal and go through Chanesar Goth, Shaheed-e-Millat, and Karsaz before completing a round trip at the Drigh Road station.
Initially, the KCR was supposed to help factories send their shipments to the Karachi port. But because the train used to pass through neighbourhoods, people started using it to travel. By the 1970s, the KCR had grown to a 44km route and in the next 10 years it had six million people using it. The trains were running 80 trips a day.
Unfortunately, the KCR started suffering by the mid-80s. At one point it was down to only 12 trips a day and in 1999 it was shut down because of losses. Grass grew over its tracks and slowly people started building homes and shops on the space where the trains used to run.
Since then, the authorities have tried to get it running again to give the people of Karachi relief from traveling like sardines in dilapidated minibuses.