The project is part of the $US 46bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a framework agreement for which was signed in April 2015 during a visit to Pakistan by China's president Mr Xi Jinping.
The work will be carried out in two phases, with the first due for completion in December 2017 and the second in 2021. The project will include track relaying, and upgrading of bridges, tunnels, and culverts, with the objective of increasing the axleload from 22.8 tonnes to 25 tonnes. A dry port will also be constructed at Havelian and the 55km line from there to Taxila will be upgraded.
Pakistan Railways currently has a 4% share of national traffic and the government wants to increase this to at least 25% by 2025.