LAHORE - Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that according to the investigations it was the negligence of the coaster driver that caused the train accident near Farooqabad in which 22 people lost their lives on Friday.

Addressing a press conference at PR headquarters on Saturday, he said that the coaster driver tried to cross the railway track from an unmanned level crossing avoiding a gate crossing which was closed due to the train arrival.

The minister said that after the project of Mainline-1 (ML-1) the track would become more secure , adding that the file work on the ML-1 project was speedily in progress  and it would be become operational soon.

He thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa for their special interest in the ML-1 project.

He said that the current year would be the year of railways complete revival, adding that no worker would be sacked. “We will provide employment to more than a hundred thousand people in the railways soon,” he expressed in a determined tone.

He said that the railways was operating trains with 60 percent occupancy and was bearing losses because of underutilization of its full capacity, nonetheless, it was providing commuting facility to the masses across the country.

The minister alleged that the previous rulers looted the railways and took kickbacks in different purchases, adding that the railway was sending corruption cases of the previous regimes to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) .

To a question, he said that all concessions to the elderly people in the trains would remain intact and they could enjoy these concession in all trains.

The minister said that fare of the trains would not be increased, adding that he had rejected such suggestions already and the burden of the increase in fuel prices would not be shifted to the passengers.