The Karachi Circular Railway should be completed in the next nine months, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked what hurdles are the authorities facing now that encroachments have been removed from the track. He was hearing a case against the restoration of train service at Karachi Registry.
The Railways secretary said that one of the hurdles is the Green Line bus track near Nazimabad. There is a nullah on the track in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Block 4.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that they should at least complete the work they took Rs25 million funds for.
The track is operational from City Station to Pipri, the secretary told the court.
The Karachi Circular Railway service was partially resumed on November 16, 2020 after 21 years. Four trains are being run up and down between Orangi and Pipri.
The first Up train leaves at 6:30am from Orangi Station near Nazimabad Bara Maidan. From there it goes to Manghopir, SITE, Shah Abdul Latif, Baldia, Lyari, Wazir Mansion, Karachi City, Karachi Cantt, Departure Yard, Drigh Road, Airport Halt, Malir Colony, Malir, Landhi, Jumma Goth, Bin Qasim, Badal Nala and ultimately reach Marshalling Yard at Pipri at 9:15am. The entire trip takes around 2hrs and 45 mins.
Karachi Circular Railway history
Initially, the KCR was supposed to help factories send their shipments to the Karachi port. But because the train used to pass through neighbourhoods, people started using it to travel. By the 1970s, the KCR had grown to a 44km route and in the next 10 years it had six million people using it. The trains were running 80 trips a day.
Unfortunately, the KCR started suffering by the mid-80s. At one point it was down to only 12 trips a day and in 1999 it was shut down because of losses. Grass grew over its tracks and slowly people started building homes and shops on the space where the trains used to run.
Since then, the authorities have tried to get it running again to give the people of Karachi relief from traveling like sardines in dilapidated minibuses.