Islamabad: The Chinese government has forwarded a proposal for Pakistan’s Main Line-1 (ML-1) project to the Exim Bank of China — with the government looking for approval of a USD 6 billion loan for the development of the railway project, according to news sources.
Work on the proposal will begin after thorough technical, and administrative vetting. After the loan has been approved by the Exim bank, the project will be sent to the respective Chinese ministries that deal with matters related to the railways, and planning and development.
Local media has reported that the construction of the ML-1 project will be carried out in three phases, as approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC). Initially, the project’s cost stood at USD 9 billion; but this was later reduced to USD 6.8 billion.
The upgraded project will involve the laying of the new ML-1 railway track from Karachi to Peshawar and Taxila to Havelian (1,872km). The project will also include improved rail cars operating at 160km/per hour, rehabilitation and construction of bridges, modern signalling and telecom systems, new underpasses and flyovers over level crossings, as well as complete fencing of the track. Moreover, there are also plans for the establishment of a dry port near Havelian and upgrading the Walton Training Academy.