Pakistan and China have finalised the multi-billion dollar Main Line-I (ML-I) project as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Wednesday.
“I held a meeting with my Chinese counterpart and finalised the $8.2 billion project,” he told media at Diaoyutai State Guest House.
Sheikh Rashid was part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s delegation during visit to China.
While expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking great interest in the project, he said the Main Line-I (ML-I), an important project for Pakistan Railways, has got a real shape after 14 years. The minister said he has also shared copies of a feasibility report of ML-2 (Fast Train) project with his Chinese counterpart. “We are planning to start work on the fast train project soon after the completion of ML-I in the next 3-4 years,” he said.
Sheikh Rashid said the ML-I will increase speed from 65-105 km/h to 120-160 km/h, besides increase in freight volumes and railway’s share in freight transport from less than 4% to 20%. He said the length of railway track from Karachi to Peshawar will be around 1,800 kilometers and the new signaling system will be installed. “There will not be any crossing on the new track and all the existing railway crossings will be abolished after completion of the ML-I project,” he added.
He said the railway track will significantly reduce travel time from Peshawar to Karachi, adding that the project will prove to be a great milestone and open up new vistas of opportunities and progress for Pakistan. He said China’s investment of billions of dollars in Pakistan is a great example of trust between the two countries.