Pakistan resumes limited train operations

Japan’s Ambassador also met with Federal Minister for Railways to discuss possible cooperation.

Pakistan Railways will resume limited operations across Pakistan from today after the approval from the Prime Minister Imran Khan. Thirty up and down trains will run across four provinces. The announcement comes just in time for Eid-ul-Fitr when hundreds of thousands of people travel back to their ancestral areas from the major urban centers.

The travelers have been asked to bring their masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers, among other essentials to minimize risks of catching coronavirus. Disinfecting gates have been installed at the railway stations. Four people are being seated in a compartment of six to maintain social distancing.

The entrance of unrelated people is also barred. For now, people with online bookings are allowed into the stations. Some people are facing a tough time due to the requirement.

Pakistan Railways suspended its operations two months back due to COVID-19. Already finding it hard to turn a profit, railways suffered an approximate loss of 10 billion rupees due to the closure, according to the Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

“The suspension of passenger trains caused a loss of 6 billion rupees, while that of freight trains 4.1 billion rupees to the Pakistan Railways,” Rashid said.

The minister also met the Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan Matsuda Kuninori. They discussed the current projects undertaken by Pakistan Railways.

Sheikh Rashid said on the occasion that a partnership between the railways in the two countries would be beneficial. “Japan Railways is one of the best in the world, and their partnership with Pakistan Railways will prove beneficial,” the minister said. Japanese Railway is world-famous for its high quality and timeliness.

The Ambassador said that the railway companies in Japan are interested in investing in their Pakistani counterpart. He said that for now, they could offer technical assistance. “These firms will provide technical support and railway safety assistance,” Kuninori said.

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