LANDIKOTAL: Pakistan Railways officials and technical staff on Friday visited Khyber district to assess the revival of the British-era Safari railway track, damaged by flash floods 14 years ago.
The railway team was comprised of Divisional Superintendent, Peshawar, Muhammad Yousuf, Lahore railway headquarters chief engineer Irfanul Haq, assistant general manager, traffic, Mazhar Ali Shah and technical staff.
The team first inspected the railway track at various points in Khyber district, especially in Landikotal tehsil. They also checked the damaged railway track in Khyber Zakhakhel localities, which has been washed away by flash floods. The Safari railway track was functional up to 2007 and the train used to run for tourists who would visit Landikotal and the historical Bab-e-Khyber via the journey.
The Lahore railway headquarters chief engineer, Irfanul Haq, said they visited Khyber district to assess the revival of the railway track from Peshawar to Torkham.
He said Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri had sent letters to the Ministry of Railways to revive the service between Peshawar and Torkham. He said the tourism and business activities would again be boosted after the Safari train gets started. Peshawar-Landikotal railway tracks had a rich historical background, he added.
Later, the railway officials held a meeting with FBR representatives in Torkham where they were briefed about the overall situation and importance of railways in the economy of Pakistan.
Muhammad Yousuf said the revival of Khyber Safari Train would enhance trade ties with Afghanistan and would also provide an easy and cheap route to transport Pakistani goods to the Central Asian states and Europe.
Noorul Haq Qadri told this correspondent that on his personal interest, the railways minister had sent a team of experts to check the ground situation of the century-old Safari train track in Khyber.
He added that besides the repair of the old railway track, the government had also approved a separate Karachi-Torkham ML-1 fast track railway system. “Fast-track Karachi-Torkham railway track would have its separate route and tunnels and its PC-1 has already been approved,” said the minister.
He added that China was interested in expanding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) via Afghanistan to other countries. He said China also wanted its trade with the Central Asian countries and Europe via Pakistan and Afghanistan, for which they wanted expanding the railway tracks and roads.