LAHORE: As part of the contract for the supply of 820 coaches, Pakistan Railways (PR) is set to receive the first consignment of fully built units (CBUs) of 70 high capacity flat coaches from China on Monday.
“The wagons sent on December 25 by the Chinese company, will reach Karachi port on Monday,” PR Chief Mechanical Engineer Abdul Haseeb told Dawn on Saturday. “These are the flat wagons in which containers would be stored and used to transport various commodities to different parts of the country from Lahore, Karachi and other major stations,” he added.
Mr. Haseeb said that under the contract, the Chinese company is also responsible for manufacturing 200 CBUs, including 70 flat, 70 open and 40 covered wagons and 20 brake trucks, he said.
Under the contract, PR is procuring up to 800 large displacement wagons and 20 brake trucks.
A letter of credit was already opened in March last year.
According to various clauses of the contract, 600 coaches are to be manufactured in Pakistan at various coach factories of Pakistan Railways in collaboration with the Chinese engineer.
The arrival of 46 modern high-speed buses from China on November 27, 2022 has paved the way for providing state-of-the-art travel facilities to the masses. Arrangements have also been made to commence construction of 184 similar coaches (passenger, luggage and brake vans) under the technology transfer component of the 230 coach purchase contract.
Since the trial run of these coaches was completed recently, PR has started using them in various express trains on the main line, reportedly. Modern coaches and carriages can travel at speeds of 160 km and 80 km per hour.
“In November 2021, when trying to upgrade and improve long-distance passenger services in the country, the federal government had signed an agreement with China Railway Construction Corporation Tangshan Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company to supply 230 high-speed public relations coaches.
Similarly, another contract was also signed with another company to supply 820 coaches,” an official source explained to PR.
Meanwhile, a department spokesperson says the remaining 130 wagon CBUs will be received by the end of March this year.
“The construction of 620 wagons under the technology transfer component of the contract will help Pakistan save its foreign exchange reserves. The new coaches will generate revenue of Rs 1.5 billion annually,” he said, adding that the new coaches can run at a speed of 80 km and 100 km per hour with loads of 60 and 70 tonnes respectively,” the spokesperson explained .