A Large Number of Pakistan Railway Trains Are Too Old to Run

Just like Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Railways is also grappling with financial challenges. According to a report by a national daily, the second-largest state-owned enterprise lacks the financial resources to replace 100 locomotives that have surpassed their operational lifespan of 20 to 25 years. Due to the financial challenges, Pakistan Railways is forced to operate these locomotives. The report revealed that 35 out of these 100 engines that have exceeded their lifespan were purchased in 1975. Furthermore, administrative issues have also made it difficult for Railways to replace the old fleet. An official told the national daily that Pakistan Railways (PR) is in dire need of 100 new locomotives to replace the old ones procured in 1975 and 1990. He added that the 'problem is the paucity of funds that must be made available to procure new locomotives and save the heavy maintenance cost being incurred on making the old ones operational.' The official also mentioned the increasing num ber of incidents due to faults in the outlived engines. He requested the federal government to allocate funds for Railways in the upcoming annual budget for the year 2024-25 under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). The official stated that besides the 350 active locomotives of different specifications, PR has over 60 engines that are grounded. They will not be used further. The official also shared statistics regarding the number of locomotives purchased since 1975. According to him, 35 locomotives of 300 horsepower and another 10 or so of 150 horsepower were acquired in 1975. The number of locomotives purchased in 1990 was 54, 63 in 2013-14, 55 locomotives of 90 series (4,000 HP) in 2017, and another 20 engines of 45 series having a capacity of 2,000 HP in 2019. According to the official, PR only has 138 locomotives that still have their life for 12 to 20 years or so. He added that the rest have completed their life, particularly those procured in 1975 and the 1990s. 'Life of a new locomotive is up to 25 years maximum, but Pakistan Railways is still using the 35 to 50 years old locomotives with heavy maintenance cost,' the official said. In response to a question, he emphasized that to address the shortage of new locomotives, the railways require adequate funds to acquire a minimum of 100 new engines. This investment would result in significant savings, as the maintenance costs associated with old engines would be reduced. Additionally, the adoption of new, fuel-efficient engines available in the market would lead to savings in fuel expenses, as these engines offer excellent mileage at higher speeds. Source: Pro Pakistani