ISLAMABAD - The revival and construction of Karachi Circular Railway, which was earlier scheduled to be completed in 10 years, would now be completed in three years, by September 2020, an official in Ministry of Planning said.

After becoming part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the 6th Joint Coordination Committee on CPEC held in Beijing in December last year, it was decided that the government with the assistance of China would complete the project on fast track basis.

"Earlier, the project was to be financed by Japanese development agency, JICA, and was scheduled to be completed in 10 years but under the special directives of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, it was decided the project would be included in CPEC and would be completed within a period of three years", the official added.

The official informed that the project was considered by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) in its meeting held on May 3, 2017 wherein CDWP recommended the project for consideration of ECNEC subject to rationalization of scope and cost by a committee, headed by member I&RC, Planning Commission with Chief T&C, Chief Economic Appraisal MPD&R including representatives from Finance Division, ministry of Railways and Government of Sindh, as its members along with certain other directions.

The total cost of the project has also been reduced due to its completion in lesser period, the official said, adding that total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 270.547 billion. He informed that the 43.2 kilometer standard gauge double railway track (14.94 km at surface and 28.18 km elevated) would be constructed with allied structures on the existing land reserved for KCR.

The project would be undertaken by government of Sindh and China, while ministry of planning would oversee the matter. The corridor will have total 24 stations with an average station spacing of 1.8 km.

As many as 162 locomotives having seating capacity of 250 with AC Traction Power supply of 1500 V would be procured and would run at an average speed of 45-50 km per hour. Provision for construction of a base station at Wazir Mansion, a car depot, a yard and a dispatching control center are also included in the proposed scope.

Similarly, he said, revival of KCR is one of the mass transit corridors identified under the Karachi Transportation Improvement Project, 2030 study.

The project ridership is estimated at 550,000 passengers per day in the opening year 2020 with projected demand of 749,541 by the year 2030 passengers per day and 915,876 by the year 2040.

The proposed KCR rout would be constructed on modern lines along existing (abandoned) track which runs through the heart of Karachi's various densely populated areas such as Shah Faisal Colony, COD, Gulistan-e-Johar, NIPA, Gulsha-e-Iqbal, Federal B Area, Manghopir, SITE, Balida, Orangi, Wazir Mansion, and Chanesar.