RAWALPINDI 1st July: The current government may be boasting about its ‘exemplary performance’ of launching seven new trains but the Pakistan Railways has actually returned to the days where a delay of three or four hours in the arrival and departure of trains has become a norm.
During the tenure of the previous government, the punctuality of trains stood between 70% and 80%. Now it has come down to 30% to 35%.
Train passengers in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta, Sukkur and other cities are forced to wait for hours at the stations.
The factors that have contributed to the delays are the frequent malfunctioning of the locomotives because of the overburdened railways operations and lack of maintenance of trains.
The trains which were preferred by passengers for their exemplary timings — Tezgam, Awam Express, Pakistan Express, Shalimar Express and Rehman Baba Express – are now late on a regular basis.
There have also been several complaints of fans and air-conditioners malfunctioning in the trains now. On June 20, three people were killed and several others injured when the Jinnah Express rammed into a freight train in Hyderabad.
Earlier this month, a cargo train derailed near the Rohri Railway Station yard, temporarily shutting down the track between Karachi and Lahore.
The derailment affected train operations on the up line. A day before that, another train derailed in Sukkur, suspending rail traffic between Karachi and Lahore.
In addition to the Pakistan Railways suffering financial losses, incidents of train derailment are also increasing and passengers are facing extreme difficulties.
The shortage of bogies is affecting its operations. Passengers staged a protest at the Lahore railway station this month against the shortage of bogies in the Karachi-bound Shalimar Express and the Rawalpindi-bound Rawalpindi Express.