THE CONSTRUCTION of a 400 km rail link from Dalbadin on the Quetta - Zahedan line to the port of Gwadar forms a key element in an Rs6bn programme for developing the Pakistan Railways network. PR Chairman Saeeduz Zafar said on August 23 that surveys for the route had been completed. It would give PR a second outlet to the Arabian Sea, relieving pressure on Karachi and opening up a further rail corridor into Central Asia.

The investment scheme announced on August 26 includes complete relaying of 1600 track-km between Karachi and Lodhran, releasing material for re-use elsewhere. Funds have also been allocated for double-tracking between Lodhran and Khanewal via Multan. In the southeast, the metre-gauge Mirpurkhas - Khokrapar line will be converted to broad gauge and extended to serve the Thar coalfields.

Meeting in Islamabad on August 31, the National Economic Council approved PR’s plans to purchase 69 diesel locos from China at a cost of Rs11bn. The 44 locos of 3500hp and 25 of 2000 to 2500 hp form part of the same package as 175 new coaches approved earlier this year (RG 6.01 p370).