FAISALABAD: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Tuesday said 20 more VIP passenger trains would also start soon.
A tendering process was being initiated to upgrade 1,680km long track of ML-2 and ML-4 in addition to dualization of the Faisalabad-Lahore and Sialkot tracks, he added.
Addressing the business community at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) here, Sheikh Rashid said that previous rulers had pushed the economy at the verge of collapse.
He added that:”We all are aware of the fact that a strong economy is imperative for defence and independent foreign policy”.
He said the present government had put the country in the right direction but it had to take bold and difficult decisions.
The minister said the FCCI was the first platform that had realised the importance of economic stability and appreciated the decisions taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Asad Umar.
Sheikh Rashid said that former rulers spent 2 billion dollars to launch only 27km long orange line train.
It was a luxurious spending as with this amount he could lay new track throughout Pakistan.
Regarding the financial affairs of the Railway, he said that Rs 35 billion were required to pay pensions, Rs 31 billion for salaries, Rs18 billion for oil and Rs 25 billion to pay the loan installments.
“We have to repair the old and abandoned bogies to start 20 new trains. Now we are planning to launch yet another 20 new VIP and high-speed passenger trains,” he added.
He said that Pakistan Railway could start high speed trains with a speed of 160km per hour after the completion of ML-1.
The speed of these trains could be enhanced up to 260km per hour in later phase. He added that the travel between Lahore-Karachi would be possible only within 6-7 hours.