Passengers travel in a train coach imported from China at a railway station in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, Jan. 27, 2023. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
"I must say that I have never had such a good experience during my years of traveling with the railways, and I will recommend my relatives and friends to choose the comfortable train for their travel," said a Pakistani passenger during the ride in Green Line Express train.
by Misbah Saba Malik
ISLAMABAD, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Madiha Usman had the best experience of traveling with Pakistan Railways when she took a ride from Islamabad to Lahore in the recently launched coaches in Green Line Express train service.
Talking about the train in which she was traveling with her kids, the mother of four said she had been anxiously waiting for the new coaches since she heard about them on social media.
"I had to visit my sister in Lahore and I purposely delayed it till the induction of these Chinese coaches in the service. I must say that I have never had such a good experience during my years of traveling with the railways, and I will recommend my relatives and friends to choose the comfortable train for their travel," Usman said while curiously checking the LED screen in front of her in the train.
The Green Line Express train halted operation for about five months due to a flood which submerged railway tracks in Sindh province, and the service has resumed with nine Chinese coaches, including the six imported from China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation Tangshan Company in late 2022 and three recently refurbished carriages that were imported from China in 2015.
Passengers sit on a coach imported from China in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan on Jan. 27, 2023. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
Zareer Mahmood, station superintendent of the Rawalpindi Railway station, one of the busiest stations in the South Asian country, said that considering that the coaches are the best in the system, the railway department has also provided the best possible facilities to the passengers traveling through it.
"The ticket between Lahore to Karachi is around 8,500 rupees (31.63 U.S. dollars), slightly higher than other trains, but the passengers get good quality meals, free of cost tea, and personal use items at it," he told Xinhua.
Mahmood said that due to positive feedbacks on the coaches, all the tickets have been booked for over 10 days since its launch on Jan. 27.
Speaking from his office at the heavily crowded train station, Mahmood said the new Chinese coaches have not only shortened the distance because of their high speed but also provide comfy travel to passengers because of their advanced breaks which minimize the vibration and discomfort on the train.
An engineer from Pakistan Railways checks the door of a train coach imported from China in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Jan. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Jiang Chao)
Addressing the ceremony of the formal induction of the carriages in the railways, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the China-imported coaches would uplift the image of Pakistan Railways and help the department increase its revenue by attracting more passengers.
He said the Chinese company has provided coaches to Pakistan with new features including WiFi services, washrooms for disabled people, modern chairs and infotainment facilities.
People from every walk of life are traveling the newly inducted coaches and are calling it the best service provided by the railways.
Imran Qureshi, an Islamabad-based banker, said he frequently visits Lahore due to work engagement, but recently he prefers traveling by train as traveling through road became challenging due to constant road closures because of dense fog.
A girl sits on a coach imported from China in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan on Jan. 27, 2023. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)
"I was awestruck when I entered into this train because I was not expecting such modern coaches with features just like a plane, and the first thing which came to mind is that it's a gift of China to make our travel comfortable," Qureshi said.
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said the remaining coaches from the fleet of 46 coaches imported from China will be used in upgrading other trains running on different routes across Pakistan. ■