Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

Pakistan Railways at the Verge of Collapse: A Case Study

Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

Pakistan Railways at the Verge of Collapse: A Case Study

Article excerpt


It can be undoubtedly argued that the economic development of a country largely depends upon its effective logistic/transport system. Among these the advantages of rail network supersedes other modes in various aspects. The idea of a railway system was first initiated in 1850's. During the British ruler ship in the Indian Subcontinent which was initially named as " North Western State Railways", later renamed as " North Western Railways" and subsequently extensions and expansions were carried out intermittently as per needs and requirements and eventually this became Pakistan Railways in 1947 after independence. In 1947, at the time of independence, 3,133 routes kilometers (1,947 mi) of North Western Railways were transferred to India, leaving 8,122 route kilometers (5,048 mi) to Pakistan. Of this 6,880 route kilometers (4,280 mi) were Broad gauge, 506 kilometers (314 mi) were Meter gauge, and 736 kilometers (457 mi) were Narrow gauge.

In 1954, the railway line was extended to Mardan and Charsada, and in 1956 the Jacobabad- Kashmore 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge line was converted into broad gauge. In 1961, the Pakistani portion of North Western Railways was renamed Pakistan Railways. The Kot-Adu-Kashmore line was constructed between 1969 and 1973 providing an alternative route from Karachi to northern Pakistan. In February 2006 the Mirpur Khas-Khokhrapar 126 km gauge railway line was converted to broad gauge.

Over the past many years, Pakistan Railways has been facing problems and is now on the verge of bankruptcy. With budget deficit of billions of dollars, eroding market share and corruption scandals, the future of Pakistan Railways - once the life line of the country - is grim. At the time of independence both India and Pakistan inherited the Railway Network laid down by British. While India Railways has emerged as a highly profitable organization, contrary is the situation for Pakistan Railways that is struggling for its survival.

Pakistan Railways have been running losses since mid-seventies. This persistent failure owes to absence of a clear direction for the organization, a pessimistic organizational ethos resulting from years of decline and political interference in decision making to the detriment of commercial feasibility

Pakistan Railways- A Historical Preview

The idea of a rail network was first brought in 1847 by Sir Henry Edward Frere , with the possibility of Karachi becoming a major seaport. He was appointed as the Commissioner of Sindh and sought permission from Lord Dalhousie in 1858 to begin a survey of Karachi Seaport for laying down a railway line. The proposed railway line would be laid from Karachi (city) to Kotri. A steamboat service on the Indus and Chenab rivers would connect Kotri to Multan and from there another railway line would be laid to Lahore and beyond.

On May 13, 1861, the first railway line was opened to the public, between Karachi (city) and Kotri, with a total distance of 105 miles (169 km). By 1886, there were four railway companies operating in what would become Pakistan later; the Scinde (Sindh) Railways, Indian Flotilla Company, Punjab Railway and Delhi Railways. These were amalgamated into the Scinde, Punjab & Delhi Railways Company and purchased by the Secretary of State for India in 1885, and in January 1886 formed the North Western State Railways, which was later on renamed as North Western Railway (NWR) which eventually became Pakistan Railways in 1947.

Another railway line between Karachi and Keamari was opened on June 16, 1889. In 1897, the line from Keamari to Kotri was doubled. It was in the year 1857 when the idea was suggested by William Andrew (Chairman of Scinde, Punjab and Delhi Railway) that the railways to the Bolan Pass would have strategic role in responding to any threat by Russia. During the second Afghan War (1878-80) between Britain and Afghanistan, a new urgency was needed to construct a Railway line up to Quetta in order to get easier access to the frontier. …

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