SINDH Province Transport Minister Dewan Mohammed Yousuf Farooqui announced on February 2 that passenger services would be re-introduced on the Karachi Circular Railway on May 1. The line will be operated by a new Urban Railway Board formed by Karachi Metropolitan Council, with technical assistance from Pakistan Railways.

A provincial committee to oversee the reopening was formed last year (RG 12.00 p791). Test trains were run in January to assess the state of the infrastructure, disused since December 1999.

KMC has agreed to operate the line for an initial one-year period. During this time, the Urban Railway Board and the provincial committee will complete a long-term development strategy, which includes double-tracking of the entire route and the construction of new stations. The city has already spent Rs3bn to eliminate several level crossings.