THE federal minister for Pakistan Railways (PR), Mr Khawaja Saad Rafique, says recent flooding across the country has caused unprecedented damage to the rail network, especially in the Balochistan and Sindh regions in the south.
Rafique says his department has been working to restore normal operation, with services on the Taftan - Dalbadin line to the Iranian border resuming while the Dera Allah Yar - Jacobabad line remains underwater. PR is working to allow relief goods from Turkey to reach Quetta by rail after a bridge collapsed last month, resulting in the cancellation of services between Karachi and Quetta.
“The relentless monsoon rains and floods have not only destroyed many railway tracks but also damaged the bridges which disconnected Sindh and Balochistan provinces with other parts of the country,” Rafique says. “The technical and non-technical staff of the department are working in three shifts to restore the tracks once the flood water recedes.”
PR has also suspended operation of five express trains on the Main Line-I between Karachi and Peshawar until the tracks have been rebuilt following flooding on the Tando Masti Khan - Gambat and Mehrabpur - Lakhro sections. Multiple locations in Balochistan have also been affected.
PR is losing around Rupees 90m ($US 385,025) a day due to the unexpected monsoon rains and flash floods, with this financial impact exacerbated by the need to refund passengers, and is now struggling to pay its staff.
With losses expected to already amount of Rupees 400bn, PR has curtailed the benefits of its high-ranking officials and is managing its use of fuel to reduce costs.