LAHORE – Despite the statement of the Railways general manager that the utility had received Rs6 billion from the federal government and that no more trains would be closed down in coming days, the operation of trains was hit by long delays throughout the country on Saturday.

The situation was the worst at Lahore Railway Station where irked passengers also staged a protest demonstration. Sources said, among others, Karachi-bound Shalimar Express was late by more than eight hours irking passengers travelling from Lahore to Karachi. “Passengers who were waiting for Shalimar Express also scuffled with the administration over the delay,” sources added.

On the other hand, the Railways management blamed the shortage of engines and technical faults for the delay, saying the situation would improve from the next month. “We will overhaul 150 engines from the funds released by the federal government. The contract for the repair of 27 engines has already been awarded,” the Railways general manager said while talking to a local TV on Saturday.

He was also quoted as saying that no more train would be closed down in coming days and that the Railways would operate new trains from the next month. The Railways has closed down at least 45 trains at local routes because of shortage of locomotives and the law and order situation. Of the 100 engines in the Railways fleet, 10 are being used for freight operation while the remaining 90 for passenger operation.

The Railways general manager said heat badly affected the old engines available with the department, causing delay in departure and arrival of trains. The sources said the government released funds to the Railways after a letter was written to the concerned ministry to appraise it of the situation on the ground.