PAKISTAN: Having been instructed by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani that it needs to become 'more commercial' and profitable ahead of its planned restructuring and possible privatisation, Pakistan Railways has decided to relaunch tourist services.

The Ghandhara Heritage Steam Safari was officially inaugurated at Rawalpindi in October by Minister of Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, who travelled on the first train as far as Golra.

Using 'century old' locomotives and coaches, the steam safari takes visitors northwest from Rawalpindi to the archaeological museum at Taxila, near Wah, which traces early Buddhist civilisation. The train also calls at Golra, where passengers will have the opportunity to visit the Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum housed in the station, which dates from 1882.

The steam safari is being managed by PR's consultancy arm Pracs, with tickets costing Rs1200 each. Trains will initially operate on the first Sunday of each month.