The government has approved an ambitious plan to upgrade and rehabilitate terminal facilities at the Pipri Marshalling Yard and Badami Bagh and two dry ports at Mughalpura, Lahore, and Azakhel, Peshawar.
An official source said the plan focuses on rehabilitation of existing tracks and civil works, improvement of goods handling facilities, establishment of new dry port and transit goods facilities at Azakhel Pir Pai Railway Station over an area of 64 acres.
The new investment is required to make the Pakistan Railways ready to transport coal from Karachi port to Punjab and Afghan transit goods to Peshawar. The poor infrastructure facilities at the terminals and dry ports are resulting in loss of revenue and shifting of business in case of Afghanistan transit cargo.
The Marshalling Yard Pipri was established in 1982 but with the passage of time the infrastructure had become incapable of handling additional load of coal movement. Currently, the periodic overhauling of high capacity wagons is carried out at Mughalpura which requires at least 30 days. These wagons are hauled empty to Lahore and returned empty to Karachi. This loss of time results in loss of millions of rupees to the Pakistan Railways.
The train operation of good parcel at Badami Bagh remained closed for the last 10 years and routine maintenance of p-way portion, structure and road was not carried out since long. The existing condition of the brick masonry floor of goods shed is in shambles being 100 years old. The existing CGI sheet roof of goods shed has completed fretted and stacked goods have destroyed during the rains.
Infrastructure facilities of the Lahore Dry Port are old and outdated. The operational capacity is adversely effected due to insufficient handling facilities for goods. During rainy season the condition of container yard becomes worst and area cannot be used for clearance and booking of consignments. The approaching roads to container yard are in unserviceable condition which disrupts expeditious movement of vehicles loaded with containers. The existing area of Peshawar dry port is located in densely populated areas spreading over 13.2 acres whereas the proposed dry port at Azakhel will be over an area of 64 acres. The narrow strip formation of Peshawar dry port creates hindrances in smooth operations.