On Thursday, the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) began partial operations on a cleared 14 km stretch of the old KCR’s roughly 55 km road.
Trains would initially operate along the Karachi City-Orangi-Karachi City road while operations would later be launched on the remaining routes, Dr Habibur Rehman Gilani, Chairman of Pakistan Railways (PR), said earlier.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Sheikh Rashid, Minister for Railways, announced that the KCR fare would be Rs30 per route and four trains would run daily from Pipri to City Station in the first process.
He added that for Rs750, a travel pass for the KCR will be available.
Rashid said that on the KCR tracks, there was a massive land mafia and the Sindh government would strive to clear it.
Within 25 years, the KCR tracks were taken over by the land mafia. We are making efforts[…] We are cooperating completely with the government of Sindh. They have begun construction on sewerage pipes, for over-bridges they have [issued tenders]. We will raise the KCR [tracks] as more bridges keep coming and the credit goes to the government of Imran Khan.
“We are going to do a lot of railway work and we will aim to reduce Karachi’s problems with God’s willingness. Within a year, we will fully modernise [the KCR].”
Talking about the project’s cost, he said One coach cost Rs9 million and 40 coaches were refurbished. Approximately Rs1.8 billion has been funded, of which Rs17 million has been invested so far.”
The minister said the orders of the Supreme Court were for the Sindh government, referring to a question about when the full track will be retrieved from the land mafia.
I don’t want you to hide anything. We are not obtaining political assistance in Karachi from any party. It is the responsibility of the Sindh government to get the land mafia to clear the stations.
“You can see that we are also headed to Tajori Heights because this is all the railway land inhabited by the inhabitants.”
In order to complete all KCR lines, Rashid said Pakistan Railways will operate quickly. “FWO (Frontier Works Organisation) has been awarded the tender for over-bridges by the Sindh government. Before the over-bridge is completed, we will be there already. In the next process, Landhi and Korangi [we will also launch operations].”
He said PR had tried “as best as it could” to enforce the decision of the top court, adding that the entire map of a region could change in 25 years. “They are not able to recognise [people living on the land]. They claim it was my grandfather’s etc.”
According to a PR spokesman, the first KCR (1-Up) train departed from Orangi station at 6.30 a.m. and reached its destination at 9.15 a.m. via Manghopir, Place, Shah Abdul Latif, Baldia, Lyari, Wazir Mansion, Karachi City, Cantt, Departure Yard, Drigh Lane, Drigh Colony, Malir Colony, Malir, Landhi, Juma Goth, Bin Qasim and Baldia Nullah.
The second train is expected to leave at 10 a.m., followed by the third at 1 p.m. and the final at 4 p.m.
Similarly, the train departure will commence at 7 a.m. from Marshalling Yard to Orangi, followed by a second at 9.30 a.m., a third at 1 p.m. and finally at 4.30 p.m.