Railways is the state-owned railway company of Pakistan. It is a large
organization under the administration of the Pakistani Government's
Ministry of Railways. Pakistan Railways provides an important mode of
transportation in the farthest corners of the country and brings them
closer for business, sightseeing, pilgrimage and education. It has been
a great integrating force and forms the life line of the country by
catering to its needs for large scale movement of people and freight.
The current chairman is Mr. Shakil Durrani.
The possibility of Karachi
as a sea port was first noticed in the middle of 19th century. Sir Henry
Edward Frere was appointed Commissioner of Sindh after its annexation to
British India's Bombay Presidency in 1847 and sought permission from
Lord Dalhousie to begin a survey for a sea port. He also initiated the
survey for a railway line in 1858. It was proposed that a railway line
from Karachi City to Kotri, steam navigation up the Indus and Chenab
rivers up to Multan and from there another railway to Lahore and beyond
It was on 13 May 1861, that the first railway line was opened for public
traffic between Karachi City and Kotri, a distance of 105 miles
(169 km). The line between Karachi City and Kiamari was opened on 16
June 1889. During 1897 the line from Keamari to Kotri was doubled.
The railway line from Peshawar to Karachi closely follows Alexander’s
line of march through the Hindu Kush mountains to the Arabian Sea.
Different sections on the existing main line from Peshawar to Lahore and
Multan and branch lines were constructed in the last quarter of 19th
century and early years of 20th century.
The four sections, i.e., Scinde (Sindh) Railways, Indian Flotilla
Company, Punjab Railway and Delhi Railways, working in a single company,
were later on amalgamated into the Scinde, Punjab & Delhi Railways
Company and purchased by the Secretary of State for India in 1885, and
in January 1886, it was named North Western State Railways, which was
later on renamed as North Western Railway.
At the time of independence, 1,947 route miles (3,133 km) of North
Western Railways were transferred to India, leaving 5,048 route miles
(8,122 km) to Pakistan. In 1954, the railway line was extended to Mardan
and Charsada, and in 1956 the Jacobabad-Kashmore 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)
gauge line was converted into broad gauge. In 1961, the Pakistani
portion of North Western Railways was renamed Pakistan Railways. The Kot
Adu-Kashmore line was constructed between 1969 and 1973 providing an
alternative route from Karachi up the country.
The Pakistan Locomotive Factory at Risalpur, a public spread on an area
of 251 acres, was put into service in 1993 with the collaboration of
Government of Japan at a total cost of Rs.2284.00 million, including a
foreign exchange component of Rs.1496.00 million. The factory can
produce two diesel-electric locomotives per month on single-shift basis,
but this can be doubled by introducing a second working shift. The
factory is equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment which can be
employed in the building of diesel-electric locomotives of suitable
horsepower, as well as electric locomotives with minor adjustments.