The Pakistan Railways (PR) after taking stock of its operations fast falling prey to corrosive flood waters declared on Saturday a 'flood emergency' and announced that officers stationed at the railway headquarters will work six days a week as their Saturday holiday was abolished.
As part of the rebuilding and maintenance efforts, the authorities have also set up a flood cell at the central control office while divisional superintendents in all the seven divisions of Pakistan Railways — Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Sukkur and Multan — have been instructed to take measures at the staff level to restore operations.
Furthermore, under the emergency plan, several engineers and other employees will be deployed to the fields to repair the damages caused by relentless rains and floods. The PR engineers will then submit a report to the authorities after a complete inspection of the railway bridges and tracks.
The PR has maintained it was doing everything at its disposal to bring back to life the stalled operations and repair the damages. However, a significant chunk of the efforts is still subject to receding water.
Train operations grind to a halt
Meanwhile, train operations at several more sections came to a grinding halt as the flash floods washed away the tracks at various spots in the country.
Following massive deluges, several feet of water is flowing over the tracks at Kotri and Dadu station, while operations at the Karachi-Lahore section have been also badly affected.
As unsparing floods cripple the country’s infrastructure, sources in the PR told The Express Tribune that owing to the suspension of passenger train operations between Karachi and Lahore, financial losses of the state entity have piled up massively.
It is pertinent to mention that the parts of the country were left disconnected from Karachi since August 26 as the railway tracks were submerged in Tando Adam to Rohri.
Meanwhile, a PR spokesperson said that the train operations will remain suspended for two more days due to submerged railway tracks after heavy rains and floods.
The PR administration has also stopped the reservation offices from bookings for September 3 and 4. The spokesperson said that the train operations will be restored in phases.
It may be mentioned here that the incessant rains and floods in the country have caused a loss of more than Rs11 billion to the Pakistan Railways including damage worth Rs8 billion to the bridges and tracks while ticket refunds, diesel and suspension of train operations have cost the department Rs3.5 billion.
According to details, the train service between Quetta and Karachi Divisions is suspended after a railway bridge collapsed due to floods in the region. In the remaining divisions, around seven to eight bridges have been damaged.
Meanwhile, the railway tracks have been damaged due to the continuous flow of rainwater due to which the department had to delay its train operation.
Railway tracks in several sections are submerged while the floodwater washed away mud concrete sleepers from underneath the tracks.
The floodwater has caused a loss of Rs11 billion to the basic infrastructure of the railways. Railway bridges and tracks have been destructed to an estimated amount of Rs8 billion while ticket refunds, diesel, administrative affairs and suspension of train operations have cost the department Rs3.5 billion.