Train coaches imported from China to uplift Pakistan's railway image, enhance technical skills: Pakistani official
A staff member at Lahore station of Pakistan Railways stands in front of train coaches imported from China in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Jan. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Jiang Chao)
From a contract to acquire 230 coaches from China, the first batch of 46 coaches arrived in Pakistan at the end of last November, and are currently parked in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore and are expected to start operations in the coming weeks.
LAHORE, Pakistan, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Train coaches imported from China are completely compatible with the local track, and have been approved for a commercial run after the initial trial at one of the fastest tracks in Pakistan, a Pakistani official said.
It is a standard protocol to test any new induction in the railways before putting it into commercial operations, Muhammad Hanif Gul, divisional superintendent of Lahore division at the Pakistan Railways under the Ministry of Railways, said, adding that the same practice has been done to the coaches imported from China and they have successfully passed the trails.
Muhammad Hanif Gul, divisional superintendent of Lahore division at the Pakistan Railways under the Ministry of Railways, receives Xinhua's exclusive interview in his office in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Jan. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Jiang Chao)
"These are very good coaches with some enhanced features, the ergonomics are very good, technology is very good and when we use them in train services, people of Pakistan will have a very good experience," Gul told Xinhua in his office in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore.
From the contract to acquire 230 coaches from China, the first batch of 46 coaches arrived in Pakistan at the end of last November, and are currently parked in Lahore and are expected to start operations in the coming weeks.
Under the technology transfer agreement, the remaining coaches will be imported to Pakistan in the form of components and manufactured in Pakistan with China's technical assistance to enhance Pakistan's ability to produce trains independently.
The coaches were acquired through transparent bidding in which the Chinese company was preferred among all others from different countries, he said, adding that Pakistan provided a list of specifications according to local standards, and the track and the trains were accordingly designed, Gul said.
Technical engineers of Pakistan Railways experience and test the performance in train coaches imported from China in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Jan. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Jiang Chao)
Talking about the quality of the new addition from the perspective of passenger comfort, he said that they are very cozy with good seat width, corresponding to the anthropometric analysis of the population of Pakistan, and have an on-board washroom facility for mobility-impaired passengers, which is a new feature in Pakistan railways.
The coaches will be used as premier trains with special staff and maintenance facilities, Gul said, adding that "it will substantially enhance the image of Pakistan railways and it will provide comfort to the passengers as to be another feather in the cap of the Pakistan-China collaboration."
Talking about the transfer of technology from China for the manufacturing of trains in Pakistan, he said that it is a step forward to help Pakistan develop a strong industrial base as the two countries have an old collaboration in terms of technology.
"It will enhance the technological capability of Pakistan and in the future, Pakistan may develop a capacity in our carriage factories where we will be able to manufacture these coaches on our own," he added.
Train coaches imported from China (R) park at Lahore station of Pakistan Railways in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Jan. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Jiang Chao)
The local engineers are very capable but their talent goes wasted due to a lack of proper training and direction, and the absence of industrial units in Pakistan, the official said, adding that the technology transfer project will also enable Pakistan to tap the potential of the young engineers in the future.
The China-imported coaches to Pakistan have the capacity to run 160 km per hour, but they will be operated at a speed of up to 120 km per hour until the planned upgrading of the railway track is done.
"Acquiring of these trains is a step towards the planned upgradation of the railway track, advancement of technology, and enhancement of human resource," he said.
Gul said that Pakistan is geographically an important place and through enhanced regional connectivity, the South Asian country has the potential to be a hub of transshipment and interregional trade.