Plan to introduce freight services on Munabao-Khokhrapar rail line

Our Bureau

Currently, about 20 to 22 freight trains are running every month between the two countries on Wagah-Attari rail link.

New Delhi, Nov. 3

India and Pakistan has discussed the possibilities of increasing freight movement between the two countries through rail links.

Officials of the Indian Railways and Pakistan Railways deliberated on introducing freight services on Munabao-Khokhrapar rail line. This rail line, on which only passenger trains are allowed, is closed at present as it was damaged due to recent floods.

The passenger train services on Munabao-Khokhrapar link are likely to be resumed by next month. .

Increasing the frequency of freight trains on the Wagah-Attari rail line to facilitate cross-border movement of goods was also discussed during the three-day talks between officials. Currently, about 20 to 22 freight trains are running every month between the two countries on Wagah-Attari rail link.

"We discussed the possibility of increasing the frequency of freight trains on Wagah-Attari link," Mr Ashok Gupta, Advisor (Traffic), Indian Railways, told reporters here.

Mr Ali Arif, Additional General Manager (Freight), Pakistan Railways, said that Pakistan Railways needed to improve goods shed facilities on the Munabao-Khokhrapar rail link, after which freight services could start. Besides, they also discussed the introduction of special type of rolling stock such as flat wagons for carrying containers, electrification of railway line between Amritsar and Lahore. The Indian delegation also proposed augmenting the services of Thar Express and making available the passenger lists of both the trains in advance on reciprocal basis for expeditious immigration clearance at the station, Mr Gupta said. The officials added that they decided to strictly enforce the luggage limit of 35 kg per passenger in lower class and 50 kg in air-conditioned class prescribed for the two trains. The two sides also decided that Indian air-brake coaching stock would be used for running Samjhauta Express when it is the turn of the Indian Railways to ply its rake.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 4, 2006)
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