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PAKISTAN RAILWAYS
Brief History
S
ir Henry Edward Frere was appointed Commissioner of Sindh after
its annexation with Bombay in 1847. It was he who discovered the
potential of Karachi as a seaport and conceived the idea of a
Railway line to up country. In 1855 Mr. Frere recommended to the
Government that Karachi should be made a seaport. The survey for
construction of a Railway line from Karachi was started in 1858.
Initially a Railway line was proposed from Karachi City to Kotri, then
steam navigation through rivers Indus/Chenab up to Multan and from
there on a Railway line to Lahore and beyond.
The 13th of May, 1861 was historical day when the first Railway line
was opened for public traffic between Karachi City and Kotri, a
distance of 169 Kms. By 1897 the line from Keamari to Kotri was
converted in double track.
Different sections of this part of Railway in the Sub-continent, which
now comprise Pakistan Railways, were constructed in the last quarter
of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. Unlike other
Rail networks in the Sub-continent during British times, most
sections of Pakistan Railways were constructed as strategic lines
to safeguard the British Empire in the Sub-continent. It is an
interesting coincidence that the present alignment of Railway
line from Peshawar to Karachi closely follows Alexander's line
of march through the Hindukush to the sea.
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In 1885, the Sindh, Punjab and Delhi Railways were purchased by
the Secretary of State for India. On 1st January, 1886 this line and
other State Railways (the Indus Valley, the Punjab Northern,
inclusive of Sindh Sagar Eastern section, and the Kandahar or
Sindh-Pishin Southern section) were integrated and North Western
State Railway was formed; which was later on renamed as North
Western Railways
At the time of Independence, the NWR was bifurcated with 1,847
route miles kilometers lying in India, and 5,048 route miles
kilometers in Pakistan. In 1954 the Railway line was extended to
Mardan and Charsadda and in 1956 Jacobabad - Kashmore
narrow-gauge section (2'-6'') was converted into broad-gauge
section. Construction of Kot Adu-Kashmor line was completed
in 1973, providing an alternate route from Karachi to up country,
along right bank of River Indus. Meter-gauge line from Hyderabad
to Khokropar was converted to broad-gauge in two stages. From
Hyderabad to Mirpur Khas 66.07 kilometer in 1967 & Mirpur Khas
to Khokropar (Zero Point) in 2006, 133 kilometer.
Route & Track Length:
Pakistan Railways is a two-gauge system i.e., broad-gauge and
metre-gauge. The gauge-wise length and track length as on 30th
June, 2013 is under:-
Route Kilometers
Track Kilometers
Broad-gauge
7479
11366
Metre-gauge
312
389
Total
7791
11755

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