A New Train Gets Inaugurated From Islamabad To Karachi

Pakistan is currently going through its worse security crises and every day comes with some new and horrendous news of a bad incident. The latest Safoora bus incident in Karachi is a big example of that. However, there are good things happening in the country as well. While these things need to be lauded, they are definitely bound to receive some criticism as well. The reason for criticizing the good efforts is that a good thing done in the country is often done following the same old ways and bringing new old stuff in new form is often named as improvement, which is not true.

Just recently the prime minister of the country, Mian Nawaz Sharif, inaugurated a new train that will start its journey from Islamabad and station at its last stop in Karachi. The new train, named the Greenline Train, will be considered the good train among all. The facilities on this train are said to be unprecedented. These are the good parts of this news. The train will have Wi-Fi facility on it so passengers can use internet on their mobile devices while traveling. They will also be provided food three times in a day.

Passengers will be served tea and bottled water to maintain the highest standards of hygiene. On top of everything, the bedding provided to the passengers will also be of high quality so they can sleep sound at night. The coaches will be air-conditioned but it is being said that this is going to be an affordable means of travel for the people. The train will complete its journey from Islamabad to Karachi in just an hour less than a complete day. Mian Nawaz Sharif has said a lot of things about the train and lauded the efforts of Khawaja Saad Rafique, the minister of railway.

Mian Nawaz Sharif also said that there is a plan in the pipeline to start a train that will go from Pakistan to Turkey. This seems quite far-fetched since there are many areas within the country where the trains don’t go. The prime minister also commended the new service by saying that it was a huge achievement keeping in view the current conditions of the railway. He didn’t hold back from indirectly praising himself by saying that it was his right choice to give railway in the hands of Khawaja Saad Rafique since the latest developments make him proud of his decision.

Lastly, the fares of this train will be Rs. 5500 for passengers who will travel from Islamabad to Karachi. Those who will aboard it from Lahore and go to Karachi will pay Rs. 5000 for the ticket. That was the good part. Here’s the horror of this whole story.

First, improving facilities in the train mean nothing for anyone as long as the speeds of these trains don’t get better. It’s a pity that our country has been around for 68 years now and we are still covering the same distances in same number of hours. Why haven’t any trains been introduced with better speeds? Why can’t passengers travel from Lahore to Karachi in 10 hours? In simple words, every now and then the government renovates the old coaches of the same trains and calls it an improvement, a development.

Furthermore, introducing a train with such facilities from Islamabad is already quite questionable. Islamabad is considered the city of the rich in the country. Most politicians live there and the citizens who are not politicians are among the cream of the country. Even this is not the point to fight for.

The most important thing here that must be asked from the government is why the conditions in other trains are not getting better. Why is it that the middle and lower class of the country is forced to travel by trains that don’t even have the basic facilities? Most of the trains labeled “economy” trains have some of the dirtiest coaches you could find anywhere in the world. These trains make stops after nearly every 15 minutes. Washrooms and toilets in these trains are not provided with water most of the time. More often than not the fans and tube lights are not working.

The windows are unsafe. The glasses fitted on the window are dirty and too often they fall on the hands and heads of the passengers as they are looking outside. Everything from a small packet of chips to morning breakfast is expensive. Why can’t the poor class of this country be provided with even the basic necessities of travel? Main trains get attacked on their ways and small thefts are almost always taking place on every single journey.

It is shameful for us that even in 2015 our trains are taking 23 hours to ravel a distance of nearly 1400 kilometers. What this means is that our trains are not even traveling with an average speed of 100km/h.

Let there be some clapping for the new Greenline Train. However, we are waiting for a true improvement in our railway and a day when people would find value in traveling from Karachi to Lahore and Islamabad on trains and prefer this mode over airplanes.