LAHORE – The Pakistan Railways has finalised the arrangements to restart Shalimar Express with the public-private partnership between Lahore and Karachi from February 25. Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani is likely to inaugurate the Express from Multan.
PR General Manager Saeed Akhtar along with Railways AGM Anjum Pervaiz, Railways IGP Syed Ibne Hussain and other officers inaugurated the newly renovated ticket counter at PRHQs Lahore on Monday. The train is being operated with the cooperation of a private company Air Rail Service.
About 19 months after its operation was suspended by the then railways management, the Shalimar Express is the second train on its way to restart the journey with the help of private sector after the launch of Business Train.
The annual expenditure of Shalimar Express was Rs300 million against Rs528 million earning when it was suspended about 19 months ago, declaring it was in loss. The railways on July 17, 2010 had also discontinued Mehran Express, Sialkot Express and a passenger train. Similarly, Tezrao and Chiltan expresses has stopped operating on July 20, 2010 and the Shalimar Express on July 27, 2010, before the operation of 76 other trains were halted due to often miscalculated financial constraints.
However, the current Pakistan Railways GM is committed to restarting all the suspended trains with the help of private sector in near future. The train had earlier been scheduled to start from January; however, its launching was delayed for a month. The responsibility for issuing tickets and during journey checking contract has been handed to private sector. The train comprises seven economies, two lower AC and one parlor class which would move from 6.30 am from Karachi.