ISLAMABAD - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Wednesday said Pakistan had finalized with China Main Line (ML-I) project – a dual railway track that would significantly reduce travel time from Peshawar to Karachi.

During meeting with Chinese Minister for Transport Li Xiaopeng, he said the project would prove to be a great milestone and open up new vistas of opportunities and progress for Pakistan, a press release received here from Beijing said.

The minister said China’s investment of billions of dollars in Pakistan was a great example of trust between the two countries. In the meeting matters of mutual interest came under discussion and ways to improve the system of Pakistan Railways were also discussed at length.

Paying tribute to Prime Minister Imran Khan on taking keen interest in the ML-I project, Sheikh Rashid said Chinese government and companies were playing vital role to put Pakistan Railways on the path of progress and prosperity.

The railway line would be completed under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

He said 1,872 kilometer dual track would be laid between Peshawar to Karachi under ML-I project and the speed of the train would be enhanced to 160 km per hour.

He said after the completion of ML-I the duration of the journey between Peshawar to Karachi would reduce to eight hours while travel time between Lahore to Rawalpindi would come down to two and a half hours. Sheikh Rashid said estimated cost of ML-I project would be $8.2 billion and it would be completed in five years.

The completion of ML-I would not only put Pakistan Railways on the right path but the project would be as important as Gwadar Port in the progress and prosperity of the country, he added.

He said PC-I of the ML-I had sent to Planning Division for further action.