The Ministry of Railways has confirmed officially that 74 incidents occurred in last 11 months. This was revealed in a report submitted by Railway authorities in the national assembly to answer a question. These accidents were occurred between August 2018 and June 2019. Out of 74 accidents, 20 accidents were of freight trains derailing while another 20 occurred at unmanned railway crossings. The ministry further stated in its reply that 19 passenger trains derailed and three other accidents were caused by fire.
During the past five years, a total of 384 train accidents took place in which over 150 people lost their lives. The reasons of these accidents were given by railway authorities include obsolete railway tracks, faulty signal system and heavy loads. Railway needs massive investment to improve the infrastructure.
The British build the railway infrastructure between 1880 and 1930s. The tracks, bridges and railway stations were built during that period. These have become very old and crumbling for last few decades. Railway system needs upgrade and improvements.
The old tracks and signal system are the main cause of increased incidents. The tracks need immediate improvements. But no real effort was made to address this issue. The PTI government has also failed to make significant improvements in the state of affairs at Pakistan Railways, as the ML-1 railway track has completed 55 per cent of its life, while ML-2 and ML-3 have surpassed 82 per cent and 80pc of their usable lives, respectively.
According to railway authorities ML-1 is considered as the lifeline of Pakistan Railways, while admitting that the railway track has depreciated by 55pc, due to which increasing issues are being faced. Pakistan Railways needs whopping Rs 324 billion to upgrade the much needed ML-1. But PTI government only allocated Rs 4.5 billion in the current budget.
Pakistan Railways signed an agreement with China under CPEC to upgrade the ML-1. But work has not practically started on this project even though Railway minister Sheikh Rashid talked about this project daily.
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