Pakistan’s ‘Safari Tourist Train’ returns to take travelers on adventure through scenic Potohar region

Pakistan Railways is breathing a new life into tourism by restoring the iconic “Safari Tourist Train,” offering travelers an adventurous journey through scenic views and time.

The Safari Train embarks on its adventure every Sunday from Islamabad’s historic Golra station, passing through Hasan Abdal, Attock, and Attock Khurd railway stations. Notably, Attock Khurd boasts a rich historical legacy and is home to the oldest railway museum in the region. The Golra railway station was built in 1882 and upgraded as a junction in 1912.

The Safari tourist train was first launched in February 2021 but its operations were halted in 2022 for undisclosed reasons. 

Now, the service has been revived in collaboration with a private company PK-Unicorn and the Safari train commenced its journey again in April 2024. The inaugural ceremony took place at Golra Railway Station last month with dignitaries such as Secretary Railway Board Abdul-Malik and Divisional Superintendent Rawalpindi Noor Uddin attending the event.

Safari Tourist Train at Golra Railway Station
Pakistan Railways has revived the Safari Train Service, journeying from Peshawar to Attock Khurd Railway stations. (Image Credit: Pakistan Railways/X)

The total capacity of the Safari train is 356 seats. The train offers three coaches and a parlor car, promising an enriching experience for travelers.

Transformation of Safari Tourist Train

The Safari Train has undergone a remarkable transformation, both internally and externally, featuring meticulously designed interiors, delectable on-board cuisine, and arrangements for high tea. Luxurious seating arrangements and newly constructed washrooms ensure passengers’ comfort and convenience throughout the journey.

The train travels every Sunday from Rawalpindi to Attock Khurd. The train departs from Rawalpindi railway station at 8:15 am and commences its journey from Golra at 9 am. After a brief stop at Hassanabdal, it reaches Attock in the afternoon and returns to Rawalpindi at 5 pm.

Ticket Prices

Ticket prices vary according to accommodation type.

  • Economy class: Rs3,500 ($12.70) 
  • AC parlour: Rs4,500 ($16.20)
  • Special saloon: Rs6,000 ($21.58)

Breakfast and lunch are included in all categories. Special discounts are available for students.

Journey through scenic Potohar region and time

Since its relaunch, the Safari Tourist Train has garnered overwhelming praise from the public, operating at full capacity on its scenic route. Passengers have enjoyed iconic landmarks such as the Margalla Hills, Sangjani Tunnel, and historic Golra railway station, showcasing Pakistan’s colonial past and its famed British-built railway system.

The journey also includes a stopover at Attock Khurd Railway Station, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Indus River and enjoy camel riding.

The primary aim of this tourist train is to promote tourism and introduce travelers to the rich heritage of the railway. Golra station, with its British-era history, houses the sprawling Islamabad Railway Museum, offering a glimpse into the treasure trove of railway artifacts, including ancient steam engines and heritage railway kitchens.

Travelers loving the safari train ride

Passengers have expressed their delight with the safari, describing it as a commendable initiative that should be expanded to explore more parts of the country. 

“We have enjoyed the trip as we came in a group and it was a good journey,” Khawaja Najam-ul-Hassan, a retired employee of the Pakistani state television, told Arab News. “I liked the architecture right from Golra to Attock as it was my first time here.”

Another passenger, Azhar Mubarak, a retired army doctor, described the safari as a “commendable initiative” and said more such trains should be introduced to explore other parts of the country.

“There are many such good places in Pakistan and initiatives like these are needed there as well to promote tourism potential and opportunities for the public,” he told Arab News.

While some have suggested improvements such as upgrading food quality, maintaining cleanliness in the rest rooms and providing trained guides, overall, the Safari Tourist Train promises an enjoyable and memorable adventure through the scenic Potohar region.

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