$2.24 Billion for Upgradation of Pak Railways ML-1 Up for Consideration.

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) will consider the $2.248 billion—PC-1 for phase-1 of up-gradation of Pakistan Railways’ Main Line-1 under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) next month.

The new estimates are based on the preliminary design which was signed by Pakistan and China on April 28, during the visit of Prime Minister Imran to Beijing.

This was revealed by Railways officials while briefing the Sub-Committee of Senate Standing Committee on Railways, which met with John Kenneth Williams in the chair.

The parliamentary panel was given a detailed briefing on Pakistan Railways projects relating to CPEC and the initiatives taken by Pakistan Railways.

Team Leader Basharat Waheed Team Leader of CPEC project at Railways said that physical works for Phase of ML-1 projects expected to be commenced in January 2020 and would be completed in four years with an estimated cost of $2.248 billion.

The overall project i.e. ML-1 up-gradation has been planned to be executed in three packages. PC-1 for Package-1 based on cost estimates validated by third-party review consultants, to be submitted to Planning Commission in June 2019.

CPEC project of Railways will consist of:

  • Short term:ML-1 up-gradation and establishment of dry port
  • Mid-term—establishing new rail link from Gwadar to Mastung and Besima to Jacobabad
  • Long term—establishing new rail link from Havelian to Khunjrab (China border).

The project of up-gradation of ML-1 has been declared a strategic commercial project with a loan on favorable terms as it presents a perfect business plan covering 75 percent traffic/population and 65 percent industrial areas.

Up-gradation of Main Line-1 and establishment of Dry Port near Havelian is an early harvest project which is to be completed by 2025.

Train speeds will increase from 65-105 km/h to 120-160 km/h after ML-1 upgrade

With the up-gradation of ML-1, train speed will increase from the current 65-105 km to 120-160 km, line capacity from 34 to 171 trains each way per day, freight volumes from 6 to 35 millions toms per annum by 2025, railway share of freight transport volume from less than 4 percent to 20 percent.

The up-gradation will enhance speed, reduce travel time, and enhance the number of trains per day and hence will generate more revenue and will decrease the burden on roads. The up-gradation will be in two phases and preferences will be determined on the basis of continuity of operations and condition of tracks.

Establishment of a new rail link from Gwadar to Mastung and Besima to Jacobabad is a mid-term project set to begin in 2025 and end by 2030 and establishing a new rail link from Havelian to Khunjerab is a long-term project which will commence in 2030.

The Committee was told that PC-1 for the acquisition of land for Gwadar connectivity amounting to Rs 10.771 billion is not yet approved. The PC-1 is for the acquisition of 41,825 acres of land which include Gwadar-Turbat-Besima-kallat-Mastung, 900 kms—32410 acres and Besima-Khuzdar-Usta Muhammad-Jacobabad, 360 kms –9415 acres.

Railways officials said that 277.35 acres of land will be acquired within Gwadar for station and right of way. Besides, 363.68 acres land has already been acquired for a container yard and right of way at a cost of Rs 1.332 billion.

The committee recommended for expediting work on the CPEC project.