No trains, more pain

Published: July 30, 2010

The suspension of Shalimar Express and five other passenger trains have added to the miseries of commuters.

With the revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) being a distant dream, the suspension of Shalimar Express and five other passenger trains have added to the miseries of commuters.

The decision by the Pakistan Railways (PR) to suspend six trains has deprived the vast majority of people of a cheap mode of transport. The timing is particularly upsetting as summer is peak traffic time with schools off and people traveling upcountry for vacations.

It is upsetting to see yet another burden dumped on the people of this country who already have to bear the brunt of rising commodity and utility prices. And frankly, they have suffered enough financial repercussions of the pathetic state of affairs and administrative confrontations by successive governments. It’s high time a decision be made on the status of the PR — whether it’s a public sector organisation or a commercial entity.

With inflation increasing at an alarming rate, inter-city bus and air fares going beyond the common person’s reach, the only relatively cheap alternative one has to travel upcountry is the railway. However, the railway authority’s argument is simple as well. They need the money and for them freight trains are more lucrative than passenger trains. And while it may be quite easy to say that passengers, as in the case of Shalimar Express, will not face any difficulty because there is Shah Shams train running on the same route, matters are not as simple as that. Do they actually know that this will further aggravate the problem as their trains are already in a pitiful state and excess load on them will make the situation even worse? The Shah Shams has around 10 to 12 bogies and adding the passengers of Shalimar Express to it would not only increase commuter traffic but may also further deteriorate its already poor service.

Is closure/suspension of trains the right solution to the so-called ‘losses’ of the PR? Will they be able to recover their losses now?

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2010.

Saba Musheer

Saba Musheer

A Karachi based journalist who manages the Sunday pages of The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • S. Ali Raza

    If the reason for closure is loss, then Steel Mills and PIA. The courts have taken notice, and we expect an early outcome. Eid will be next month and that is when there is most travelling. If the trains do not restart then the transport mafia on the land routes will have won this!Recommend

  • Rahim

    Shortly will sell steel mill and pia once they generate funds from people of pakistan Recommend

  • Taufiq

    Transport mafia behind the suspension of train, if suspension of trains due to loss so please close Pakistan Railway “Na Rehay ga bans na bajay gi bansari”.Recommend

  • sultan

    I don’t know why people are unable to point out the real cause behind all these decisions. If anyone happened to have made a train journey he sure can’t miss to notice the wide spread corruption in Railways like all other Govt. departments in Pakistan. From a Cullie to the Minister of Railway are busy in rampant corruption spree. And who is responsible for electing these corrupt people to the offices. The answer is sadly ‘Us’. So why are we complaining then, as it is the direct result of our own actions. So next time be careful when u poll your vote. Thanks 4 reading. Recommend

  • Think therefore

    I think its a good decesion by the minister if his intention is to minimise losses for an already bleeding economy or maybe he is using this tactic to force the govt. to get new locomotives.

    On the flip side maybe he is in cahoots with the one and only “sub pay bhaari” and is using public pressure as a ploy for expediting the purchase from a particular supplier… so that “sub kay haat kuch kuch thora bohat aa jaiy”…

    If he wants to clarify his positon he should share his action plan for the future with the public…Recommend

  • S. Ali Raza

    Sultan Sahib,

    if you firmly believe that the closure of these trains was to curtail leakages or corruption, then my friend, every department of the Government of Pakistan must be closed down, including the Ministry of Religious affairs. Recommend

  • Yasser

    Another achievement of Balours and ANP minister but this time on national level, the most used train has been shut off, what a country, what a people.Recommend

  • Yasser

    Another achievement of Bilour and ANP ministers, the train has been shut off which was widely used, what a country, what a peopleRecommend

  • sultan

    S. A. Raza may have missed my point, sir, I only wanted to say that we are responsible for the corrupt Railway Minister and the Government by electing them to these offices. And I somewhat agree with Think Before and want people of Pakistan to be more sensible while casting their votes. Railway People at present responsible for decision making are all hand picked and won’t go against what the minster wants. Minister wants only ‘money’ no matter at what (National) expense it comes. He is making deals (Direct Deals) and partnerships with all the suppliers and vendors. All the Ministers are doing this, you will be surprised to know that Federal ministers are not even refusing Rs. 100,000/- share in supplies. At the end who voted these ugly faces to power, you and me. My question is why you complain then? Recommend

  • danish omer zuberi

    Sir, the picture appearing on the blog has a train with something written in hindi script on the engine’s masthead. It would have been more appropriate if the writer or the organisation had taken the pain of using a photograph of Karachi Cantonment or the Karachi City Railway instead of googling and copy paste.Recommend