ON MARCH 8, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz inaugurated limited services on a section of the Karachi Circular Railway, which is being progressively reopened after a decade-long closure (RG 12.05 p816).

The Governor of Sindh Province Dr Ishratul reviewed arrangements for the revived service the previous week. Pakistan Railways has contracted out the operation to Mass Transit (Pvt) Ltd, which is initially operating five trains in each direction between Karachi City and Landhi/Malir, at a flat fare of Rs7. Each train is formed of six coaches with a capacity of 140 seated and standing passengers. The operating contract is valued at Rs3·6m a year.

Sindh’s transport department and the city government are working with PR to rehabilitate the remainder of the line, including the removal of squatters and other encroachments onto the right of way. PR expects to complete most of the work in around 18 months. Elimination of the line’s 22 level crossings will take longer.