Work on up-gradation of ML-1 project to be initiated by end 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways is likely to start work on up-gradation of Railway Main Line-1 by end of current year, sources in Planning Commission said.

The Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar ML-1 up-gradation project is a CPEC initiative that would transform railways system in the country.

The sources said that briefing the 50th China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) review meeting held here the other day, officials from Pakistan Railways informed that as soon as all financing matters of the project are settled, which they hoped would be resolved soon, Pakistan Railways would ensure launch of this initiative.

The rehabilitation and improvement of existing track would follow the existing alignment except at locations where sharp curves are to be eased out or eliminated to allow higher speed upto 140 kilometer per hour.

The framework Agreement for the project had already been signed while feasibility report has also been completed, the sources added.

The agreement was signed in Biejing in May this year between Pakistan and China under which China would finance over $8 billion for the project through Chinese Government Concessional Loan (GCL).

The project detail shows that ML-1 extends from Kiamari (Karachi) in the south to Peshawar covering 1,726 kilometres and passing through Hyderabad, Rohri (Sukkur), Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi stations. ML-1 also includes the 91 km chord line between Lodhran and Khanewal and the 55 km section between Taxila and Havelian. Thus ML-1 extends over a total of 1,872 kilometres.

The entire railway track on ML-1 is broad gauge (1,676 mm or 5 feet 6 inches). It has 196 big and small railway stations.