LAHORE - Federal Minister for Railways Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad Thursday said Pakistan Railways wanted to increase the number of freight trains from eight to fifteen as induction of more freight trains can earn more profits.

Talking to International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation headed by Resident Representative IMF Pakistan Teresa Daben Sanchez, he said Pakistan Railways is aware of the IMF role in improving economy, a press release said.

The IMF delegation was interested in finding out measures to reduce fiscal deficit of Pakistan Railways and to reduce its dependency on government’s subsidy.

During discussion, he mentioned that the speed of train should be increased. He was very clear that ML I (Karachi-Peshawar) should be upgraded on priority.

He declared that right now Pakistan Railways has broad gauge but gradually it will be changed into standard gauge. He showed interest in constructing an extra standard gauge line at Karachi-Hyderabad.

On a question from IMF team on Public Private Partnership (PPP), he said Pakistan Railways is open to PPP. He said for improved working Pakistan Railways should make a consortium with various parties. The meeting was also attended by M Javed Anwar, Chairman and M Yusuf, DG Planning.

Meanwhile, Minister for Railways Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad will leave for China to discuss Pakistan Railways China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and upgradation of ML I,II and III.

The minister will also have side meetings with authorities of National Railways Administration (NRA), National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) and China Railways Engineering Group(CREC), a press release said.